By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – What did we learn during Iowa’s 49-7 win over Michigan State on Saturday?
We learned that Buffalo transfer Charlie Jones is a weapon on offense, and on special teams. We also learned that Michigan State may have some serious questions at quarterback.
We learned that Iowa has plenty of offensive weapons even without senior receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who was suspended for Saturday’s game.
Offensive player of the game: Charlie Jones. The Buffalo transfer had 143 all-purpose yards, including a 54-yard punt return touchdown. Jones also had a 31-yard punt return that led to an Iowa touchdown in the second quarter, and a 27-yard rush that led to a touchdown on Iowa’s opening drive.
Defensive player of the game: The Iowa defense. Iowa held Michigan State to 59 yards rushing and forced three turnovers. The defensive line pressured Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi all day, totaling four quarterback hurries.
Pivotal plays: With Iowa’s offense sputtering, Jones’ 54-yard punt return touchdown extended Iowa’s lead to 28-0 with 1:57 left before halftime.
On Michigan State’s next drive, junior defensive back Riley Moss intercepted Spartan quarterback Rocky Lombardi’s pass and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown with 1:30 left before halftime.
Key stats: Iowa scored 14 points off of three Michigan State turnovers.
Iowa rushed for 226 yards, led by sophomore running back Tyler Goodson, who had 113 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.
Weird stats: Iowa led 35-0 at halftime despite having six yards of total offense in the last 8:45 of the second quarter.
Michigan State had 405 punting yards and 286 yards of total offense.
Notable number: 54. Jones’ 54-yard punt return touchdown and Moss’ 54-yard interception return touchdown in the second quarter gave Iowa a 35-0 lead heading into halftime.
Did you know?: Iowa beat Michigan State for the first time since 2012. The Spartans beat the Hawkeyes in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Iowa’s 49 points are the most it has ever scored against Michigan State.
Iowa has returned an interception for a touchdown in 13 consecutive seasons.
Mekhi Sargent’s 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter was the first time in the last seven Big Ten games that Iowa has scored in the third quarter.
Kirk Ferentz won his 163rd game as a member of the Big Ten conference, passing former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno for fourth all-time.
Series update: Iowa holds a 24-22-2 advantage in the series.
Injury report: Offensive linemen Coy Cronk and Kyler Schott were inactive Saturday, but no reason was given for their absence.
Cronk, a graduate transfer from Indiana, was benched in the second half of Iowa’s 21-20 loss to Northwestern.