It was a physical contest between Iowa and Illinois inside Kinnick Stadium today as the Hawkeyes came away with a tough, hard-fought 29-20 victory.
Both teams suffered injuries throughout the game, especially Kirk Ferentz's bunch. They entered the game without starting running back LeShun Daniels, top wide receiver Tevaun Smith, and starting left tackle Boone Myers, all of which did not dress. Starting right guard Jordan Walsh appeared to be dinged up at one point in the game and missed almost the entire second quarter of action before returning to the field after halftime. Right tackle Ike Boettger was injured in the third quarter, leaving for the locker room and did not return. Defensive end Drew Ott got injured in the third quarter as well, a lower leg injury that prevented him from coming back on the field.
With all the injuries, the Hawkeyes had a true freshman at wideout, a former walk-on tight end at left tackle, a true freshman interior lineman at right tackle, a limited backfield, and a redshirt freshman pass rusher opposite senior Nate Meier at defensive end.
It was not enough to kill the will of Iowa. The leadership was on full display once even more setbacks crept in. It was a rough day for the offensive line for the most part, but seniors Austin Blythe and Jordan Canzeri carried the offense through the adversity. Canzeri rushed the ball 43 times (a school record) for 256 yards (third most in single game in Iowa Hawkeyes' history) and a touchdown.
C.J. Beathard took care of the ball, as did the rest of the team. Iowa committed zero turnovers while forcing two. The second was a critical one that iced the game for the Hawkeyes. Illinois had the ball with 3:20 remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter, but running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn coughed the ball up and Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell recovered it. Iowa ran the ball three times, and were content with securing a field goal to take a nine point lead with just over two minutes to go.
That would be all that Iowa needed. It took over 40 carries and over 250 yards rushing from Jordan Canzeri and a final defensive stop to clinch the game in the fianl minutes but Iowa has won back to back Big Ten games, giving them a 6-0 overall record on the year and 2-0 in the Big Ten.