Iowa tops Iowa State in an instant classic
By LUKE MEREDITH
AP Sports Writer
AMES — Quarterback Nate Stanley cemented his status as Iowa’s starter with a big game against its biggest rival — and Akrum Wadley reminded everyone why he’s one of the best running backs around.
Stanley threw a 5-yard TD pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in overtime and Iowa rallied to stun Iowa State 44-41 on Saturday, its third straight win over the rival Cyclones.
Stanley threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns in his first road start for the Hawkeyes (2-0), who blew an early 11-point lead before rallying to force overtime on a brilliant catch and run by Wadley.
Iowa’s defense forced the Cyclones to settle for a field goal to open OT. Stanley then found Smith-Marsette, a true freshman, to cap one of the most thrilling games this rivalry had ever seen.
“It was a dog fight,” Wadley said. “We knew we were going to get their best effort.”
Hakeem Butler caught a 74-yard touchdown pass with 4:36 left in the fourth quarter to give the Cyclones a 38-31 lead. But Wadley, one of the nation’s most dangerous players in space, caught a short pass over the middle and shredded Iowa State’s defense to tie it up with 1:09 left.
“The team just kept coming back from bad situations,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who improved to 10-9 against Iowa State. “The guys just kept playing, and that’s all you can do in a game like this.”
Jacob Park had 347 yards and four TD passes for Iowa State (1-1), and David Montgomery rushed for 112 yards and caught five passes. But star safety Kamari Cotton-Moya missed the second half with a shoulder injury.
“We just couldn’t make that final dagger play you’re going to have to make to beat that team,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes defense, which looked so strong in holding Wyoming to three points last week, was worn down by the Cyclones and their talented playmakers in the second half. Iowa also committed 10 penalties. But Wadley and Stanley — who barely won the No. 1 job in August — bailed their team out with their late-game heroics. Wadley had 118 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving.
Iowa State: The Hawkeyes looked like they had put the game away after touchdown drives of 91 and 94 yards put them up 21-10. But instead of folding like they had so often in the past, the Cyclones showed resiliency. Iowa State spread out Iowa’s defense in the second half, and Park found his playmakers time after time. Still, this defeat will sting in Ames for years to come — especially because of who it came against. “I think you’ll find out a lot about our team next week, how we handle and respond to this loss,” Campbell said.
Butler and Allen Lazard each caught two touchdown passes for Iowa State. … The Hawkeyes had three drives of longer than 90 yards, and the drive that forced overtime went 89 yards in less than two minutes. … Iowa was 7 of 15 on third downs, while Iowa State was just 4 of 14. But both teams converted all of their red zone chances.
BUTLER’S BIG DAY
Iowa State was faced with 4th-and-1 at the Iowa 30 late in the third quarter. The Hawkeyes blitzed, and Park found Butler all alone in the middle of the field for a touchdown. Butler also caught what looked like a potential game-winning TD when Iowa safety Jake Gervase rushed the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter, leaving Butler alone for an easy score. Butler finished with five catches for a game-high 128 yards.
This was just the second overtime game in the history of this rivalry. Iowa State won the first one in 2011 by the same score, 44-41, though that game went to triple overtime. …Wadley and Smith-Marsette went to the same high school, Weequahic in New Jersey.
The Hawkeyes host North Texas on Saturday.
Iowa State travels to face Akron on Saturday.