It didn't show up in a big way in the opener against Illinois State, but it sure did against rival Iowa State. C.J. Beathard took the reins at quarterback, and many focus on his arm strength. He can zip a ball in tight spots and throw the ball downfield much more effectively than the past few signal callers for the Hawkeyes. However, his arm isn't the only difference maker. Damage is being done by Beathard's legs as well, totaling near 80 rushing yards rushing in just the first half this past Saturday.
Not only did he come close to hitting the century mark on the ground against Iowa State, Beathard also ripped off some explosive runs, both deep inside their own territory. The runs were momentum changers in the ball game, and also galvanized the defense, not just the offense according to linebacker Travis Perry.
"It fires up the defense," Perry said. "Whoever it is, when they have an explosive play, it gets everyone fired up. It also allows our defense to get additional rest. It's exciting, especially when we are backed up near our own end zone. It gives us more breathing air."
Jaleel Johnson has welcome in the new element the offense has in its arsenal. The former four-star recruit is off to a terrific start this season, and he's been inspired by the offensive play.
"It gives us motivation," Johnson shared. "The offense is out there kicking butt, we want to do the exact same thing. It's no different."
Right guard Jordan Walsh overcame a bit of the injury bug during fall camp, but has rebounded successfully and has been one of the driving forces along the Hawkeye offensive line. He loves the added weapon and sees it as an additional piece to the puzzle for the offense.
"It definitely makes us more dynamic," Walsh explained. "Everyone covers the wid receivers, but nobody expects the quarterback to run for 100 yards. That's really good for (C.J. Beathard)."
While many of Beathard's Iowa teammates have been dazzled by his play, and surprised of sorts, his center knew he had this potential.
"We knew that he could do that stuff," Austin Blythe noted. "You guys saw it for the first time. That's nothing new to us. We knew he had that ability."
Not everyone is impressed by the ground game of Beathard, and it isn't past or future opponents. It is some of the playmakers on his own team.
"They thought it was a good run," the starting quarterback discussed. "Some of the faster guys (jokingly) said that they would have scored on the play (when we were in the meeting room). I told them I'm not a running back."
All jokes aside, the dimension of Beathard being able to deliver explosiveness not only through the air but also on the ground, has been one of the difference makers for the Hawkeyes this season. He'll look to continue his early success on Saturday night when Iowa hosts Pittsburgh under the lights in Kinnick Stadium.