The Iowa Hawkeyes got their season off to a good start on Saturday; however, the weather interrupted the Hawkeyes’ parade and delayed the game in the third quarter.
Leading 34-0, the game was called by officials after lightning had been reported. Originally the delay was for 30 minutes but as the clock ticked down, additional lightning reset it. After 84 minutes, the game resumed.
This was Tennessee Tech’s second consecutive opener to be delayed by weather.
Before the weather delay, the Hawkeyes got off to a slow start in the first quarter with a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. As the sun briefly came out in the second quarter, quarterback James Vandenberg and the team kicked it into gear and the new QB got his first touchdown of the game.
It appeared to be a seamless transition into the starting role for Vandenberg, who went 13 for 21, 219 yards and two touchdowns.
Backup quarterback A.J. Derby saw some brief playing time in the fourth quarter, going 2 for 5 on 27 yards.
Iowa had an opportunity to see freshman running back Mika’il McCall’s potential. He came out strong with nine carries for 61 yards but his inaugural season soon came to an end in the second quarter from an ankle injury.
I look forward to watching him next season.
Star running back Marcus Coker looked sloppy and was taken out early. He dodged the injury bullet by standing on the sidelines and watching his teammates slip and slide on the field through the rain. Coker went 11 for 41 yards with two fumbles.
Wide receiver Marvin McNutt was in fine form and had six receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns, including an 88-yard reception. I had wondered earlier if he had chemistry with Vandenberg and I think the answer is fortunately yes.
Iowa’s defense looked good in this rebuilding year. Defensive back Shaun Prater picked off Tennessee Tech’s Tre Lamb and ran 89 yards down field for a touchdown, followed by his defensive brethren linebacker James Morris with his own an interception (and 10 tackles for the day).
The Hawkeyes were able to grab a field goal from it in the second quarter.
Morris’ fellow linebacker Christian Kirksey had 10 tackles for the day and defensive tackle Mike Daniels had two tackles for loss.
Mike Meyer, Iowa’s field goal kicker, had two field goals with a long one of 39 yards.
After watching Golden Eagles coach Watson Brown visibly show his frustration throughout the first three quarters, his team finally got on the board. In the fourth quarter with five minutes remaining, the team’s sole bright spot running back Dontey Gay scored.
For the day, he rushed for 108 yards.
Overall, Iowa looked good but it’s probably a good thing there’s a few more non-conference games with holes at running back and in the secondary.
Coach Kirk Ferentz had this to say about the game:
“There were a lot of positives, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Prater’s return for touchdown was probably the play of the game for us although James’ (Morris) return was well done, too. Lots of guys in addition to Shaun did a lot of good things on that play,” said UI coach Kirk Ferentz.
The Hawkeyes will travel to Ames next week for an 11 a.m. game against rival Iowa State.
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Written by Debbie Baratz