The latest installment of the Cy-Hawk football game was all Iowa football, in that it was won in the trenches
By Ben Ross
AMES — Despite the fact he helped lead Iowa to its first win over Iowa State since 2010, Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock never touched the Cy-Hawk trophy immediately following the 27-21 Hawkeye win.
Instead, he went straight for Cyclone quarterback Sam Richardson.
“It’s a quarterback thing,” Rudock said after the game, also noting him and Richardson are from the state of Florida. “I always try to find the other quarterback, but the Florida thing kind of helps too.”
Iowa’s beefy offensive lineman — who paved the way for a 218-yard rushing day for Iowa — were the ones who could be found near the bronze trophy, celebrating a win that Iowa nearly let go of late in the fourth quarter.
“I was nowhere near [the Cy-Hawk Trophy],” Rudock said. “I let those guys do what they wanna do. As long as we got the win I’m happy about that. I heard it was ridiculously heavy. The lineman are always the quickest ones there, they’re the workhorses. They work so hard, they definitely deserved to be the first ones to touch it.”
The Hawkeyes were the first team to get on the board Saturday night after executing an 11-play, 69-yard drive capped off by a Kevonte Martin-Manley touchdown catch three minutes into the second quarter. Martin-Manley finished the day with seven catches for 60-yards and the score.
But the story of the day was Iowa running back Mark Weisman, who rushed for his third-straight 100 yard game of the season. The junior ended the day with 145 yards on 35 carries. He could have scored his third touchdown of the year but was ruled short of the end zone early in the fourth quarter after originally getting the touchdown signal from the side judge.
Rather than elect to feed the hot-handed Weisman on third and goal, Iowa decided to let Rudock sneak one into the end zone to put the Hawkeyes up 27-7 with a little under an entire quarter to play.
“I could care less,” Weisman said about getting his touchdown call reversed after a review in the booth. “It doesn’t matter who scores, as long as we put points up on that board it doesn’t matter at all. I feel like that’s how the whole team thinks too.”
The game was won in the trenches on both sides of the ball as Iowa’s offensive line dominated the vaunted Cyclone d-line that allowed Northern Iowa to gain 236 yards on the ground in its only other game of the season. The Iowa defensive front four provided constant pressure to Sam Richardson all night, sacking him once, and allowing just 59 Cyclone rushing yards.
Iowa used about six different defensive lineman throughout the game as it has all season, which Darian Cooper said helped him stay fresh during his snaps, and allowed him to get his first career sack as a Hawkeye.
“We definitely studied how they move as an offensive line and their schematics and schemes and whatnot,” Cooper said after the game. It just allowed us to play a little faster knowing what they’re gonna do.
“[My first sack] felt great, the first thing I got up and did after was look for somebody to celebrate with, it’s not a one man thing. I head-butted Mike Hardy pretty good. It felt great.”