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Iowa Dominates Rutgers, One Win From Indianapolis

Iowa Rutgers

Iowa played what might have been its most complete game as a team all season. The 22-0 shutout victory over Rutgers included 402 yards of total offense from Iowa, zero three-and-outs, and 77 total plays. Iowa surpassed 400 yards on offense for the first time since its win against Maryland in 2021. The performance today came against the nation’s 10th-best defense. Iowa’s victory improves the program to 8-2 on the season. More importantly, it guarantees the Hawkeyes a share of the Big Ten West with Minnesota’s loss today. Iowa continues to excel in the month of November at home, moving to 15-3 since 2015. 

Second Half Explosion

Deacon Hill had been one of the least accurate quarterbacks in the nation ahead of Iowa’s matchup against Rutgers. He started the game one-for-five with just one yard. But then things started to click. He connected on 10 of his next 12 for 102 yards leading up to nine seconds remaining in the first half. Iowa was in the midst of an eight-play 62-yard drive when he threw a bad interception in the red zone. The pass was never there, and we wondered if Brian Ferentz would finally put in a backup in the second half. 

Hill trotted out to begin the third quarter and proceeded to have one of the better halves of football in his young career. As the third quarter was winding down, Iowa had just three points on the board. With six minutes left in the third, Iowa began what would be their second-longest drive of the day, all coming on one play. Hill connected with Zach Ortwerth for 54 yards on a seam down the middle. The big play set up a Hawkeye field goal and a six-point lead.

The Wisconsin transfer led four straight scoring drives in the third and fourth quarters. His second-half performance included nine completions on 13 attempts with one touchdown. Hill threw for 117 yards in the second half, averaging nine yards per attempt. Ferentz drew up an offense that was a little more simplistic, and it really allowed his young quarterback to make good throws and find open receivers. That was a major component of Iowa’s tremendous second half of offense against a good Rutgers defense. 

Kaleb Brown Welcome Party

The Ohio State transfer wide receiver had his most significant performance of the season thus far. Kaleb Brown finished with three receptions, 27 yards, and a receiving touchdown. He also had two carries for 20 yards on the day. His numbers didn’t lead the stat category, but it showed his capabilities with the ball in his hands. Brown averaged 9.4 yards per touch, and his touchdown late in the fourth quarter sealed the victory. 

Iowa’s Defensive Showcase Against Rutgers

The shutout victory was Iowa’s first since its bowl game victory over Kentucky in December 2022. It was Iowa’s first conference shutout since beating Northwestern 20-0 in 2019. Iowa also beat Rutgers that season 30-0. 

The Scarlet Knights entered Iowa City with one of the most prolific running backs. Kyle Monangai is the Big Ten’s leading rusher and was fresh off of three straight 100-yard rushing performances. One of which came against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Phil Parker’s defense held him to just 39 rushing yards on the day. The Scarlet Knights only ran 41 plays, and 13 of them were given to Monangai. Iowa’s ability to shut down this running back was impressive, but it didn’t stop there.

Iowa allowed just 127 total yards against Rutgers. That was the lowest it’s allowed on the season, and the second straight game allowing less than 200 total yards. The Scarlet Knights averaged three yards per play, forced four three-and-outs, and never allowed Rutgers inside the 40-yard line. The consistency of this defense is something special that is often overlooked because of the offensive struggles. That was not the case today. Iowa’s 400-plus total yards combined with the team’s best defensive performance on the season.

One Win From Indianapolis

Kirk Ferentz’s program has now claimed at least a share of the Big Ten West Division with the win over Rutgers. Iowa is now one win away from a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. Illinois is in town next week before a trip to Lincoln on Black Friday. A win in either one of those games, regardless of the finishes elsewhere in the division, will put the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship for the second time in three years.

Say what you wish about the Hawkeyes, but this team is 8-2 despite major injuries and offensive shortcomings. In his 25th season at the helm, Ferentz is putting together one of his best coaching performances with the situation he has been dealt. 


Iowa Rutgers
Photo courtesy: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports


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