IOWA CITY – Iowa started its Big Ten Conference schedule with a flash, and that’s all it needed. The Hawkeyes coasted to a 31-13 victory after leading Minnesota 24-0 at the half at Kinnick Stadium Saturday.
Mark Weisman continued his hard-rushing ways, running for 177 yards on 21 carries, including an eight-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
On its next offensive possession, Iowa (3-2, 1-0 B1G) used Weisman’s success to its advantage. The Hawkeyes ran a flea flicker – from James Vandenberg to Jordan Cotton – to perfection and for a 47-yard touchdown, and that was all the points Iowa would need. It was 17-0 in the second quarter at that point, and even though the Hawkeyes didn’t do much offensively in the second half, Kirk Ferentz’s crew won its Big Ten opener and improved to 3-2 overall in 2012.
Vandenberg was good at times and not-so-good at others, posting 18/31 passing for 192 yards and the touchdown to Cotton. Keenan Davis caught six passes for 50 yards and eight different receivers caught passes.
The Hawkeye defense gave up just 72 yards of total offense in the first half – 299 total – and forced Minnesota quarterback Max Shortell into three interceptions. Shortell passed for just 32 yards in the first half and finished 20 of 37 passing for 197 yards.
Iowa travels to Michigan State next Saturday and Minnesota (4-1, 0-1 B1G) hosts Northwestern on the same day.