The Hawkeyes just made it unbelievably tough on the Cyclones Saturday night. That was one of the cleanest games I've watched Iowa play in a long time. They didn't turn the ball over, got a good chunk of yards on their first down plays for the most part, and controlled the time of possession to go along with many other things. C.J. Beathard finished 19-28 throwing for 235 yards and three touchdowns.
Iowa used LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley well, that duo combined to carry the ball 24 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Wadley also caught a touchdown pass from Beathard. Iowa's Matt Vandeberg is proving he is a legitimate number one guy for Iowa. He had seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.
If Iowa can remain this efficient throughout the season, it's going to make life really tough on defensive coordinators and opposing head coaches.
I tried to keep my eye on how Lucas LeGrand fared at center and I did not see many mistakes. I love how Iowa has a next man in mentality and it almost seemed like Iowa didn't even miss a beat. Hopefully James Daniels gets back to full strength soon, but it's nice knowing you can have young guys step in and fill voids and not miss a beat at all.
Matt Vandeberg Is The Guy
I wondered how Matt Vandeberg would respond to being the main guy. Last year he had Tevaun Smith and Henry Krieger-Coble seeing a lot of targets, but this year he is about the most experienced pass catcher for the Hawkeyes. He led Iowa in receptions last season and will likely do the same this season.
He has a lot of younger, inexperienced guys around him and Matt has been a real nice asset throughout the first two games of the season. Beathard knows that he has a reliable guy to catch passes when Iowa needs one, so that will be comforting for him. Matt has caught 11 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown this season.
Iowa Defense Was Better
The Hawkeye defense struggled a tad in the opener against Miami (OH) all around. The Redhawks had a nice day through the air and on the ground, but Iowa was still able to come away victorious. Against the Cyclones, they looked a lot better. They got their leader back in Josey Jewell and just made things extremely difficult for Iowa State on offense.
Iowa State's Joel Lanning struggled through the air, completing just 8 of his 20 passes for 86 yards and an interception. Jacob Park came in and replaced Lanning when the game was already out of hand.
The Hawkeyes also did a good job bottling up the running game. Mike Warren carried the ball just seven times for 28 yards. If Iowa stays this sharp on defense Phil Parker will sleep easy at night.
Being from Iowa this is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I think it's fun to see the trash talking between the two fan bases that leads up to the game, but last night was one of the worst games I've seen in a while between these two. Right now, Iowa State doesn't look up to par with Iowa and I hope Matt Campbell can turn things around quickly because it's nice to see these games competitive.
With the exception of last night, the spread hadn't been wider than 6 points in four of the last five meetings.