On a beautiful day in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes concluded their spring schedule with the annual Spring Game.
In front of approximately 10,000 fans and using the unique scoring system, the offense beat the defense 46-31. With Jake Rudock leading the first team offense against the first team defense, the defense carried the first half play. Rudock had trouble with his accuracy at times, poorly underthrowing Kevonte Martin-Manley on a pass that was played beautifully and seized by Desmond Kind in coverage.
Rudock did throw a touchdown pass, a 52 yard catch and run by Ray Hamilton, who caught the pass on the far sideline, bulldozing over a would be tackler and carrying Jordan Lomax into the end zone. It was a fantastic play of tight end athleticism that brought the Kinnick Stadium crowd to its feet.
CJ Beathard played the entire four quarters with the second team, incorporating some of the younger receivers into his offense. Beathard was mostly good in terms of accuracy, but had a mental lapse in the first quarter that prompted the burning of back to back timeouts. His best throw of the day came soon after, fitting a ball down the seam to #18 Derrick Willies, who caught the pass in stride and easily scampered into the student section end zone.
The heralded linebacking trio of Quinton Alston, Reggie Spearman and Josey Jewell held their own as the leaders of the first team defense. All three pursued the football well today, but especially Alston, who hammered Damon Bullock in pass coverage on more than one occasion. Alston leadership was also on display on the defensive sideline, being by far the most audible voice on the far side.
“The Standout Performance for a Relatively Unknown Hawkeye” award went to #2 Andrew Stone, a wide receiver who hooked up with Beathard down the field a couple times. One of which was a fifty yard pass and catch off a double move, a great play that set the second teamers just outside the red zone. Iowa fans keep hearing about these young receivers; add Stone to that list of potential contributors.
From a scheme standpoint, no major wrinkles were overtly obvious this afternoon. The Hawkeye quarterbacks did try to throw a fade route a number of times to a lone receiver matched in single coverage, however their intended targets hauled none of them in.
All in all, a successful day for Iowa that concluded a productive spring. Especially in the injury department, as the program managed to complete the spring without any crippling injuries. With training camp on the horizon, there is a long way to go before these Hawkeyes return to the Kinnick turf against Northern Iowa. Still, as April concludes, it was great to see the Black and Gold once again in their game uniforms.