The Iowa Hawkeyes kicked off their season with a win over the Miami (OH) Redhawks
It wasn’t pretty the whole way, but the Iowa Hawkeyes came away with a win. Miami (OH) put up a better fight than many expected, however, behind a loud Kinnick Stadium crowd, Iowa was able to hold on despite a second half push from the Redhawks. The Hawkeyes extended their regular season winning streak to 13 games and start the season 1-0 with a 45-21 win over Miami.
Iowa has been a ground and pound team since Kirk Ferentz took over, and they did just that against the Redhawks. The Hawkeyes ran for five touchdowns and 212 yards. The two back punch of Akrum Wadley (12 carries, 121 yards, two touchdowns) and LeShun Daniels Jr (10 carries, 83 yards, two touchdowns) was too much for the Redhawks defense.
After Iowa forced Miami (OH) to punt to start the game, it only took the Hawkeyes six plays to drive 80 yards. Their Hawkeyes capped of theopening drive of the season with a one-yard touchdown run by Daniels.
Miami’s next two drives each resulted in a fumble, with Iowa recovering and eventually driving down the field for a touchdown. Jack Hockaday forced the first fumble of the game, with Parker Hesse recovering. Akrum Wadley ran it in for an 11-yard touchdown just two plays later for the Hawkeyes.
On the Redhawks next drive, Anthony Nelson, a redshirt freshman, sacked quarterback Billy Bahl, forcing a fumble. C.J. Beathard fired a 38 yard pass to Jerminic Smith with LeShun Daniels scoring on a 43-yard touchdown on the next play. It was two of the biggest plays on the afternoon for the Hawkeyes, and one of the few times Beathard took a chance downfield. Most of the game consisted of Iowa running the ball or swing passes to Smith and Matt VandeBerg.
Alonzo Smith did get in the end zone for the Redhawks in the first half, however Akrum Wadley answered on the next drive. The Redhawks missed a 53-yard field goal later in the half, which allowed Iowa to take a 28-7 lead into halftime.
The Hawkeyes dominated the first half. Billy Bahl had a couple of nice throws but their running game was nonexistent for most of the half and Bahl struggled when Iowa got pressure on him. With Josey Jewell being ejected early in the first half for targeting, Iowa’s pass rush was inconsistent.
Offensively, the Hawkeyes stuck to the run game for most of the half. Beathard got a couple of chances to throw, however the Hawkeyes were more concerned with establishing a run game early. The Redhawks were eventually able to slow down Daniels and Wadley some, but it wasn’t before they combined to score four touchdowns.
The second half was not as pretty. After driving the field to start the second half, C.J. Beathard connected with Riley McCarron in the red zone, seemingly for a touchdown. McCarron ended up losing the ball after a big hit, resulting it to roll to the back of the end zone and out of bounds. The call on the field was that McCarron had possession and it was a touchback. After reviewing the play, the booth decided that McCarron didn’t catch the ball and ruled it incomplete.
It was a questionable call, to say the least. It seemed fairly obvious that McCarron caught the ball, however Iowa took advantage of their luck. Three plays later, Beathard connected with Jerminic Smith for a 12-yard touchdown.
The Redhawks answered on their next two drives. They drove 75 yards in nearly seven minutes, resulting in a touchdown reception for James Gardner. On their next drive, the Redhawks held the ball for over seven minutes, with Gardner catching his second touchdown of the night. Gardner burned the Hawkeyes for six catches, 95 yards and two touchdowns, highlighting Greg Mabin‘s tough day.
The Hawkeyes nearly answered with a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, however senior tight end George Kittle dropped an easy pass in the end zone. The Hawkeyes settled for a field goal.
Although, on the next drive, Anthony Nelson forced his second fumble of the game. It was the third lost fumble of the game for Miami, this time being recovered by Sam Brincks.
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Nate Stanley entered the game at quarterback for the Hawkeyes final drive. Iowa opted towards not redshirting the true freshman. Stanley handed the ball to Derrick Mitchell Jr, who capped off the Hawkeyes dominating run performance with an 11-yard touchdown run. Stanley didn’t complete his only pass attempt.
It wasn’t the most well-played game for the Hawkeyes, however the loss of Josey Jewell early and it being week one definitely played a factor. Greg Mabin was getting burned all game, which will be a big issue later in the season for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes run game was more dominating than expected, and C.J. Beathard did another great job controlling the tempo of the game. He threw for 192 yards and a touchdown on 13-20 passing. Matt VandeBerg had 99 receiving yards on four catches, but it was Smith’s big play ability that was the biggest takeaway. It was only week one, however the VandeBerg – Beathard connection is still strong.
- Josey Jewell was ejected at the beginning of the first quarter for targeting on the Redhawks first punt. The crowd didn’t like the call but it was a clear malicious hit by the senior captain. It clearly impacted Iowa’s pass rush and defense as a whole.
- The Hawkeyes struggled getting off the field. There were many dump off passes or runs by Miami that got close to the first down marker on 3rd and longs. Overall, the Redhawks went 5-for-11 on third down conversions and 2-for-2 on fourth downs.
- Sophomore quarterback Billy Bahl showed great pocket presence. He struggled at times with pressure but he stayed in the pocket and sported a solid arm. The Hawkeyes were unable to intercept him as he passed for 266 yards.
- Greg Mabin needs to be better or he’ll become a liability for Iowa. Desmond King is one of the best corners in the nation and the Hawkeyes have a solid secondary. James Gardner is a solid receiver, however Big Ten quarterbacks will mess with Mabin all game if he doesn’t improve.
- Anthony Nelson has a chance to be the Big Ten Freshman of the Week. He had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in his debut. It was a dominating performance young defensive lineman and should instill a lot of confidence in the Hawkeyes coaching staff.
- Aside from the dropped potential touchdown, Riley McCarron struggled holding onto the ball the whole game. He only caught one pass for 14 yards and will need to be a more reliable target if Iowa wants to establish a pass game.
The Iowa Hawkeyes will be back in action next week against their rival Iowa State Cyclones.