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Iowa Turns Off the Air Raid Siren, Flies by North Texas 31-14

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By John Patchett (  09/16/17

The Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the UNT Mean Green 31-14, breaking the game open in the Second Half with a run-pass balanced blend of power football. It was a game filled with flags (the kind thrown by officials), questionable calls that took two Iowa touchdowns off the scoreboard, and injuries to key Hawkeye starters.

The Mean Green came into this game brandishing a wide-open, high-powered “Air Raid” Offense – with per-game averages of 45.5 points, 580.5 yards of total offense, 79 plays, and 35:28 time of possession. The Hawkeyes played role-reversal in Kinnick Stadium on offense under new OC Brian Ferentz, racking up 435 yards of total offense, running 86 plays, and finishing with 40:45 time of possession. A lot of those numbers were racked up in the Second Half of play. The Mean Green actually led at Halftime 14-10 before Iowa turned into Big Ten Bullies in the last two quarters.

Iowa Quarterback Nate Stanley added to his early-season touchdown total – he came into the game with eight and threw two more against UNT’s 3-4 Defense. Stanley finished completing 16 passes on 27 attempts for 197 yards. He would have had two more had not Wide Receiver Nick Easley been ruled to fumble into the end zone resulting in a touch-back, then Running Back Akrum Wadley was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for high stepping into the end zone at the end of what would have been a terrific 74 yard catch and run TD. Both of those calls were questionable, as were several others in this game.

Wadley apparently had an ankle issue after that and did not play at all in the Second Half. Running Back James Butler also suffered what appeared to be a serious elbow injury shortly after taking over for Wadley. Then it was an introduction to Iowa fans for back-up running backs Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin – and both met the challenge. Iowa finished with 238 yards rushing: Young had 19 runs for 78 yards, Kelly-Martin added 74 yards on 11 runs, Butler had 74 yards on 16 carries before his injury, and Wadley added 24 yards on just eight rushes.

Iowa’s Defense struggled against the UNT Offense in the First Half, but settled into better play in the third and fourth quarters. But key to that, especially in the heat with temperatures hovering near 90°, was the long, clock-eating drives for the Hawkeyes Offense in the Second Half. Iowa also did a much better job substituting players in against UNT’s up-tempo offense – especially compared to last week’s game at Iowa State.

There were 19 penalties accepted in this game: 13 on UNT for 119 yards and six on Iowa for 63 yards. The official reviews seemed nearly endless in a game that lasted 3:26.

The Hawkeyes finish the 2017 non-conference portion of their schedule undefeated at 3-0 — for just the seventh time under Kirk Ferentz. The last time was the undefeated regular season in 2015.

Iowa (3-0, 0-0) will open the Big Ten Season next Saturday evening in Kinnick Stadium (ABC, 6:30 PM). UNT returns home to host UAB.

Post-Game Notes – From Iowa Athletic Communications

Iowa (3-0) defeated North Texas (1-2), 31-14, at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Iowa’s defense did not allow a point in the second half. It is the second time this season the defense surrendered no second-half points (Wyoming).

Iowa is 3-0 for the seventh time under Kirk Ferentz (2001, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2015).


QB Nate Stanley threw two touchdowns today. He has thrown 10 touchdowns over the last three games, the best three-game stretch in the Ferentz era. It is Iowa’s best three-game stretch since Chuck Hartlieb threw 11 touchdowns over a three-game stretch in 1987. Chuck Long threw 12 touchdowns over a three-game stretch in 1985.

QB Tyler Wiegers led Iowa’ final drive in the fourth quarter. It was Wiegers’ first appearance since 2015. He recorded no stats.

RB Akrum Wadley (8 carries, 24 yards) became the 15th player in program history to rush for 2,000 yards in a career. Wadley has 344 career carries for 2,021 yards (5.9) Wadley left the game in the second quarter and did not return.

RB Akrum Wadley’s 68-yard reception in the first quarter was a career long.

RB James Butler had career highs in carries (16) and yards (74). Butler left the game in the third quarter and did not return.

TE T.J. Hockenson’s 8-yard touchdown reception was the first of his career. He had a career-high three receptions.

DB Josh Jackson blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt. It was the first of his career, and Iowa’s first since Nov. 15, 2016 at Penn State (Josey Jewell). Jackson’s fourth-quarter interception was the second of his career and second this season.

WR Brandon Smith’s two-yard reception in the second quarter was the first reception of his career.

WR Nick Easley had a game-high five receptions. He has been Iowa’s leading receiver in each of the first three games.

RB Toren Young and RB Ivory Kelly-Martin each carried the ball for the first time in their careers. Young finished the game with a team-high 19 carries for a team-best 78 yards. Kelly-Martin finished with 74 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns (2, 6).  Kelly-Martin is the first Iowa true freshman with two-plus rush TD in a game since Marcus Coker in 2010 (vs Missouri).

WR Matt VandeBerg had three receptions for 19 yards and one touchdown. He has at least one reception on 22 consecutive games played. He has 114 career receptions, tied for 13th all-time.

LB Josey Jewell had five tackles today. He has 327 career tackles, 16th in program history.

Iowa’s third touchdown drive took 8 minutes and 50 seconds, its longest scoring drive of the season. The drive traveled 87 yards. The Hawkeyes have five touchdown drives this season of 87 yards or longer.

Iowa has scored in every quarter this season except for the first quarter against Wyoming in Week 1 (11 straight quarters, plus an overtime period).

Kirk Ferentz’s 138 wins in all games coached as a member of the Big Ten Conference ranks sixth in league history. Ferentz entered the game tied for sixth (Henry Williams of Minnesota). He is five wins from tying Hayden Fry as the Hawkeyes’ all-time winningest football coach.

North Texas won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Hawkeyes have played 230 games under head coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa has opened the game on offense 179 times (109-70). The Hawkeyes have opened the game on defense 51 times (29-22).

Instant replay was used four times today:

  • Nick Easely TD reception (call was overruled, result in a touchback);
  • Iowa incomplete pass, North Texas challenge (call was confirmed);
  • Iowa rushed for a first down (call was confirmed); and,
  • Ivory Kelly-Martin fumble at the two-yard line (call was overruled, player down at 3-yard line).