There were at least three things I wanted to see Saturday during Iowa’s homecoming game with Indiana.
1. Score over 40 points
2. Get the tight ends involved.
3. Get the starters out in the fourth quarter and play some reserves.
4. Okay, I know I said three, but also I wanted to see if A.J. Derby would see the field at linebacker as was reported all week.
Iowa did score 45 points in their 45-24 victory.
The tight ends only caught three passes, two by Zach Derby and one by Brad Herman but Brad’s catch was for a touchdown, the first of his career.
The starters did get to rest in the fourth quarter as the Hoosiers scored their last touchdown against the second and third team defense.
A.J. did see the field on a kickoff in which he made the tackle.
Look for him to get snaps at linebacker the next couple of weeks. The Hawks are banged up and very thin at that position.
Two of my homeboys, Tim Neustrom and his son Robert, made it to the game. They missed last year but kept their unbeaten streak going. They have now seen Iowa win six in a row.
I probably should invite them to Iowa’s last two home games, Michigan and Michigan State. The Hawks will need all the good luck to finish the season strong.
We have to start with the offense this week and three players stuck out… record-setting wide receiver Marvin McNutt, quarterback James Vandenberg and running back Marcus Coker.
Marvelous Marvin shattered the all-time touchdown record with three catches. He was tied with Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes with 21.
The 6-4, 216-pound senior had a career day with a personal best 184 yards receiving on six catches.
Marvin’s record breaking touchdown came on an 80-yard catch, a go route. His second came on a fade route in the south end zone. James threw two straight fades as the first one was broken up.
Both were audibles.
“I was glad Vandenberg gave me a chance after I dropped the first one,” said Marvin.
James picked apart the Indiana defense, going 12-16 for 253 yards and four touchdown throws.
The Hawks’ game plan was to run the ball and Marcus had 139 yards, two touchdowns and a six-yard average. He also busted off a 41-yard run, his longest of the season.
You have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line, even though James was sacked four times, mostly on blitzes.
It was great to see De’Andre Johnson and Jordan Canzeri get some carries.
They combined for nine carries and 52 yards. Both have great quickness.
The offense scored touchdowns the first five times it had the ball.
It wasn’t real pretty as the Hoosiers racked up 414 total yards, went 7-14 on third down conversions and averaged 4.6 yards per run.
The Hawkeyes are banged and bruised. Tyler Nielsen was held out with a broken bone in his hand, Anthony Hitchens and Thomas Nardo didn’t play for the second week in a row.
A.J. Derby got the call from Kirk Ferentz on Tuesday to make the switch and the former City High super prep worked out with the linebackers all week.
A.J. only played on one kickoff, but got the first tackle of his career.
Look for A.J. to play on kickoffs, kickoff returns, punts and punt returns next week and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got some snaps at linebacker. A. J. checks in at 6-4, 230, and is one of the best athletes on the team.
James Morris picked up 10 tackles before his sore ankle was re-injured in the second half.
That’s three linebackers banged and bruised, so A. J. better be ready.
Christian Kirksey led the way with 12 tackles and Tanner Miller had 10 but the defense has a lot of work to do.
Mike Meyers made his only field goal from 47 yards out and kept the kickoffs in-bounds.
The kickoff coverage, with B.J. Lowery and A.J. leading the way, was solid.
I’ve also thought that before the season is over Jordan Bernstine will return a kickoff for a touchdown.
The 5-11, 205-pound senior from Des Moines busted off a 62-yard return to set the Hawks up for a score in the second half.
Overall, it was a perfect day for football and a chance to see some of the young guns.
“I’m not sure if I like those back and forth, they score and we score,” said coach Ferentz. “I like it better when we score and we stop them. The guys did a good job of responding out there and the offense really played well in that first half. I thought overall everybody’s effort was good but we still have some things we can get better at.”
It was a great win and a great performance out of Marvin.
Iowa travels to Minnesota and if anyone thinks the 1-6 Gophers are going to roll over, have you already forgotten about last year’s loss in Minneapolis?
The 27-24 upset was one of the most depressing defeats of the year. The locker room was divided and the Hawkeyes couldn’t finish.
Bottom line… Iowa needs to bring Floyd back home.