Defense and special teams finally showed up for Iowa in its 59-3 victory over Western Michigan. Here are the top five reasons the Hawkeyes rolled to victory:
Lucky 7 – Iowa’s front seven showed up to play, keeping the Broncos out of sync all day. Linebacker Christian Kirksey was in the face of Broncos QB Tyler Van Tubbergen all day. The defensive line held Western Michigan to 74 yards rushing and pressured Broncos quarterbacks into a dismal 16-for-38 and 135 yards passing. The Broncos’ longest drive of the day was eight plays.
B.J. was a Bear – Cornerback B.J. Lowery, who had been toasted in Iowa’s previous three games, had two pick-6s. Lowery had an acrobatic interception to stop a drive against Iowa State, but he topped that against WMU with a 35-yard score in the second quarter and a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Lowery has been telling reporters before practice for the past two weeks that all DBs get burned but the good ones know how to forget about it. Guess now he will have some good memories to replace those bad ones.
QB Quandary – For those of you scoring, a quandary is a choice between two things not necessarily bad. Quarterback Jake Rudock was his efficient self and finally started to take some downfield shots. He had two touchdown passes of more than 20 yards and completed several other mid-range completions. Backup C.J. Beathard even got into the act with a beautifully thrown 54-yard pass to Damond Powell in mop-up time and had several nice runs.
Hyphen Heaven: Kevonte Martin-Manley resurrected Iowa’s dormant special teams with an electrifying 83-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter. To this point of the season, the Hawkeyes’ special teams had been known more for mistakes, breakdowns and mental errors. Martin-Manley erased all that with one play.
KMM – Well, he’s got three names, why not give him two reasons? Martin-Manley did something in the second quarter that only two players in the history of the Big 10 had ever done when he returned his second punt return for a touchdown. Manley took a rugby punt then broke right and raced 63 yards untouched. Of course, when the final score is 59-3, virtually everyone who scored was untouched. But, hey, it’s his parade and he should enjoy it while he can.