IOWA CITY, Iowa – Facing Iowa State in a night game at Kinnick Stadium seems to have agreed with the Iowa football team.
The 16-ranked Hawkeyes scored their most points against Iowa State in nearly 20 years on Saturday night, pounding the Cyclones 42-3 before a sellout crowd of 70,585 at Kinnick Stadium.
The 39-point margin of victory was Iowa’s largest in the rivalry since defeating Iowa State 63-20 in 1997 when Tim Dwight and Tavian Banks were seniors at Iowa.
"We’re certainly pleased to get the victory tonight," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who improved his record to 9-9 against Iowa State. "At the beginning of the week, our focus was just on having a relentless week of preparation, starting with our concentration and execution on both sides of the ball and special teams."
Injury report: Iowa was short-handed on both sides of the ball in Saturday’s game, but it still didn’t matter, thanks to the next-man in philosophy that Ferentz always stresses.
Sophomore offensive lineman James Daniels and sophomore defensive end Parker Hesse both missed Saturday’s game because of injuries. Daniels suffered a minor knee injury near the end of practice on Wednesday, while Hesse sustained a undisclosed strain against Miami of Ohio in the season opener last Saturday.
Sophomore offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand made his first career start at center for the injured Daniels, while redshirt freshman Anthony Nelson started for Hesse.
"(Daniels) wanted to play tonight and that was out of the question," Ferentz said. "But naturally he got hurt on the next to last play on Wednesday, just our lucky day, right? So I wouldn’t rule him out. It’s not the same as Parker Hesse, but maybe kind of like that.
"Parker had a chance this week, but didn’t respond during the week. So probably realistically we’re probably a week out yet. But we’ll take it day by day."
For LeGrand, finally getting on the field was a dream come true.
"It was different," said LeGrand, who graduated from Dubuque Senior, "(I was) kind of stargazing, but it was alright. After the first one we were good.
"First start against Iowa State, you know, it’s something you dream of. It was a lot of fun."
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound LeGrand tried to calm his nerves by watching film and relaxing before the game.
"I was just trying to stay calm," LeGrand said. "Just watching a lot of film, learning a little more every day and do better every day. Coach is always saying ‘fall back on your fundamentals’ so I kept repeating that in my head.
"I was pretty relaxed, trying to be at least. Especially today with the night game just sitting around a lot and not trying to pay too much attention to the game, watch some T.V. and stuff and some other games."
LeGrand’s approach seems to worked because Ferentz didn’t notice any signs of nerves
"Just to get that first one under your belt is always important," Ferentz said. "I think all of us felt pretty good. We were a little worried about the shotgun snaps the first time. But it was a good environment against a big rival. So all those things matter.
"But on the positive side, Thursday afternoon, Friday his demeanor was great, and he came through the building Thursday. He practiced really well yesterday morning. He didn’t show any signs of being outwardly nervous, and maybe wasn’t smart enough to know to be nervous. I don’t know. But that was encouraging. And again, I know his teammates really support him well, too."
Nelson squared: Redshirt freshman Anthony Nelson made his first career start at defensive end on Saturday. Sophomore defensive end Matt Nelson (no relation) made his second career start at the other defensive end position.
They both recorded one quarterback sack, totaling a minus-11 yards. Iowa had three sacks overall and five tackles for losses.
Meerkat’s getting married: In addition to having a big night on the field, Iowa senior receiver Matt VandeBerg capped his night in spectacular fashion by getting engaged.
VandeBerg proposed to his girlfriend after the game. She said "yes".
The House that C.J. Built: Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard improved to 15-2 as a starter, including 9-0 at home and 15-0 in regular-season games.
Beathard also became the 10th player in Iowa football history to surpass 4,000 career passing yards. The Franklin, Tenn., native now has 4,060 yards with 10 regular-season games still left on the schedule.
Scheel gets his shot: Sophomore receiver Jay Scheel recorded his first career reception after months of hype. Scheel caught a 12-yard pass from Beathard in the fourth quarter.