IOWA CITY, Iowa - Quick reaction from Iowa’s 27-16 win over UNI at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.
Iowa’s Hero No Longer Unsung
After starter Damon Bullock (unofficial concussion) and backup Greg Garmon (dislocated right elbow) left the game in the first half, fullback Mark Weisman rushed for 113 yards on 24 carries, including three rushing touchdowns. Weisman, a sophomore fullback (not a full scholarship player) also caught three passes for 33 yards. All three of his touchdowns came from inside three yards.
Speaking of those running backs
Garmon and Bullock did not return, and Iowa will re-evaluate them early this coming week. Bullock had rushed for 77 yards in the first half until he took a knee to the helmet and laid unconscious momentarily before being able to walk off under his own power, although he was quite wobbly. Garmon carried three times for 13 yards before getting his right arm hit or tangled in a pileup. The elbow certainly looked out of place as he hung it low while jogging off the field in some obvious discomfort.
UNI’s Strong Start Wasted
The Panthers squashed any doubt that they belonged on the same field as Iowa on the game’s first possession, as UNI needed just 4:24 to score the game’s first touchdown. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen started off the game with a couple long completions of 30 and 26 yards. Running back David Johnson accounted for 57 yards on the drive, including the one-yard touchdown run from the wildcat offense.
Iowa Offense Better, Not Spectacular
Iowa’s six yards-per-play average is its highest of the season – it averaged 4.7 yards per carry on the ground. The offense was certainly better than in Iowa’s 9-6 loss to Iowa State, as it moved the ball better than it had and was overall more consistent than its effort last week. James Vandenberg was 18 of 28 passing for 228 yards (no touchdowns).
Center Field Open
A few times, as UNI hung around and hung around with Iowa, Vandenberg found Kevonte Martin-Manley down the middle seam of the field for big yardage. Martin-Manley caught five passes for 101 yards (the first Iowa WR to eclipse the 100-yard mark this season), and his long catch helped set up the touchdown that started the second half for Iowa.
Panthers Look Ahead To Big Game
Next week, Northern Iowa has possibly its biggest game of the season, as it plays FCS power Youngstown State. YSU beat Pittsburgh 31-17 in the season’s opening week, and Pittsburgh just thumped No. 13 Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Penguins are in the MVFC, just as UNI is, and the two teams will be playing for playoff spots in FCS as the season goes along. Many UNI people told us this week that the games against YSU and North Dakota State (the following week) are even more important to Panther faithful, and to the team, than the game against Iowa is.