Third time was the charm for Iowa as they won their third home game in a row and ended their non-conference play on a positive note with a dominant 45-17 win.
Iowa came out strong and immediately got on the board with a one-yard touchdown in its first drive by quarterback James Vandenberg.
With wide receiver Marvin McNutt, Jr. on the hunt for the school record in receiving touchdowns, he had two in the first half and will enter conference play one touchdown short of the record.
Running back Marcus Coker shared in the first half touchdown wealth with one of his own, followed by a second one in the third quarter. He ended the day with 18 carries for 113 yards.
In the first half, Iowa was strong in third-down conversions with a balanced offense including tight end play by Zach Derby and an improving defense.
So much for all the worries about the Warhawk’s tricky defense. It didn’t appear to pose a problem for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa incurred one turnover for the day in the first half but ULM was unable to score from it.
The Hawkeyes entered halftime with a standing ovation by the fans and a 28-3 lead.
After some adjustments, ULM came roaring back in the third quarter with a touchdown to tighten the lead to 28-10 but Iowa said not so fast and came back with one of their own by Coker. ULM got one more touchdown in the quarter to make it 35-17 but that would be their last score of the day.
Iowa closed the third quarter with a three-play drive to take a 42-17 lead from a touchdown by wide receiver Keenan Davis. It was his first score of the game.
And while he didn’t get his own touchdown, Iowa’s third wide receiver, Kevonte Martin-Manley, had a good game with six receptions for 82 yards.
ULM’s lead receiver was Anthony McCall, who was 4 for 83 yards on the day. The Warhawk’s quarterback, Kolton Browning was 16 for 27, 131 yards and zero touchdowns. He split duties with Cody Wells, who was 13 for 17, 162 yards and zero touchdowns.
Iowa kicker Mike Meyer appeared to get his groove back after missing two field goals last week. In the fourth quarter, Meyer hit a 23-yard field goal to extend Iowa’s lead to 45-17.
Iowa spread the love at running back with good play from Jason White, Damon Bullock and true freshman Jordan Canzeri. Maybe there is some depth at this position after all?
Defense looked better today but still isn’t what you’d expect from defensive coordinator Norm Parker’s crew. One bright spot was defensive lineman Thomas Nardo with 11 tackles; it was his second game starting for the Hawkeyes.
In addition to giving the young running backs some experience, Iowa brought in A.J. Derby at quarterback with five minutes remaining. He was 1 for 3 yards.
For the day, Vandenberg was 21 for 32 with 270 yards and three touchdowns.
The Hawkeyes will get a break next week and start their conference play against Penn State on October 8. Let’s hope it’s not another 11 a.m. game.
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Written by Debbie Baratz