IOWA CITY — On his first interception, Iowa cornerback B.J. Lowery played a nail from an eight and was off. That’s what he said when asked about the coverage.
He said he was off, but he was on.
Lowery picked off the pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. The senior peeled off and Western Michigan quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen never saw him. His second interception return for a score is a much easier explanation. He just undercut an out route, picked off backup QB Zach Terrell and walked in from 13 yards.
“I was pretty much by myself in the open field,” Lowery said.
That said it all for the Hawkeyes (3-1) on Saturday.
Lowery picked off two passes and returned them for touchdowns in the Hawkeyes’ 59-3 victory over Western Michigan. He became the first player in Iowa history to score on a pair of interception returns in the same game and just the second Big Ten player in the BCS era (since 1998) to pull it off.
You get the point. This kind of thing doesn’t happen very often. And, oh yeah, Kevonte Martin-Manley returned two punts for TDs. It was a weird day that way.
“It’s just one of those things,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You can’t explain that. To have four non-offensive touchdowns in a game, that’s pretty hard to explain.”
It was easy for Lowery, who now has three interceptions this year.
“It was a great jam by [linebacker] Christian Kirksey,” Lowery said of the first pick. “If he wouldn’t have done that, I wouldn’t have been in the position I was in. He did that and I was able to come over the top and pick the ball off.”
That one gave Iowa a commanding 38-3 halftime lead. Lowery also put up Iowa’s next touchdown. This one was a conventional cornerback play, the kind of pass they all dream about. He read Terrell’s eyes, which were glued to a receiver on a out route, and made a play on the ball.
“It’s not a coincidence,” linebacker James Morris said. “You saw the plays he made last week and now the plays this week. He’s playing his best football right now.”
Last week against Iowa State, it was a bit up and down for Lowery. He missed a tackle on a 67-yard TD pass and lost position on a 26-yard TD pass. Between those, he had a leaping one-handed interception that ended up the No. 4 play of the day on ESPNs SportsCenter.
Saturday was all up, no down. All on, no off.
“I wouldn’t say I’m back to even,” Lowery said. “Those plays still haunt me. I watched an interview with [former Hawkeye corner] Micah Hyde [now with the Packers], and he said you have to have a short-term memory. That’s one thing I’ve thought about as I came into today.”
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