Early in the season teams have made it a point to remove Iowa wideout Tevaun Smith and the imapct he can have on a game. The opportunities just haven't been there for him. He hasn't had the chance to really leaven an imprint on the games against Illinois State or Iowa State.
Those defenses were not going to let Smith beat them. They were going to force quarterback C.J. Beathard to deliver the ball to his other options which has resulted in Matt VandeBerg exploding onto the scene. Though Smith was unable to put up numbers, his sheer presence allowed the offense to create in other ways, such as VandeBerg's connections with Beathard and even Jordan Canzeri out of the backfield.
Pittsburgh plays a different style where they challenge the receivers on the edge more with press coverage. The Hawkeyes knew that going in and knew there would be more opportunities available in the vertical passing game, to Smith in particular.
He knew the potential he had to make plays in last Saturday's night game and it was something he was ready for and excited about.
"We knew there were going to play man (coverage) all game," Smith shared. "That's something I thought about every night I went to bed. I did my best."
Smith came through. He had two deep receptions that lead to scoring drives for Iowa, something that has kind of been missing so far. The matchup against Pittsburgh allowed them to showcase that the offense was able to produce in that fashion and now it's one more thing future opponents have to account for when preparing for the Hawkeyes.
Number four delivered on Saturday night when given the chance, but knows he still has room for improvement as well.
"(There were) a couple plays I could have got open and could have made a bigger play," Smith noted. "We got the win and that's all that matters."
Fans may wonder where Smith's results have been but opposing defenses are making sure he doesn't get loose and preventing the ball from going his way. It's created other opportunities for Matt VandeBerg, who leads the Big Ten in receptions. Not only that, but his blocking has extended several plays on the year, too.
Don't look at the statistics to measure Tevaun Smith's success. Turn on the tape and you see how much he means to this offense.