GAMEDAY College Football

Iowa 27, Rutgers 10

By TOM CANAVAN
AP Sports Writer

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - In a game featuring two outstanding defenses, Iowa won the turnover battle by a wide margin.

Cooper DeJean scored on a 45-yard interception return and Keavon Merriweather returned a fumble 30 yards for another first-half touchdown as Iowa rode its defense to 27-10 victory over Rutgers.

Leshon Williams scored on a 2-yard run and Drew Stevens kicked two field goals as the Hawkeyes (3-1, 1-0) forced three turnovers and handed Rutgers (3-1, 0-1) its 20th straight Big Ten Conference loss at home.

Evan Simon, the only healthy scholarship quarterback with Noah Vedral and Gavin Wimsatt hurt, threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Aron Cruickshank early in the fourth quarter with Rutgers down 24-3. Jude McAtamney kicked a 28-yard field goal on the opening series for the Scarlet Knights, who were looking for their first 4-0 start since 2012.

Rutgers appeared ready to challenge Iowa on the opening series, but turning the ball over three times against a defense that allowed 13 points in its first three games was not the way to win.

The 23 points allowed by Iowa in the first four games is its fewest points allowed in the last 66 years. The Hawkeyes gave up 20 points in the first four games in 1956.

"That's pretty impressive, so clearly the guys are playing at a high level right now doing a good job," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "And the two defensive touchdowns, it did feel a little bit like the Indiana game (September 2021) because that's the last time we did that too, so lots to be pleased about there."

DeJean, who now has interceptions in three straight games, made an over-the-shoulder catch on a deep, hurried pass by Simon with about six minutes left in the opening quarter. He turned, cut across the field, eluded a couple of tacklers and scored for a 7-3 lead.

"I caught the ball on one hash, so I knew everybody would come to that side," DeJean said. "All the linemen, I don't want to get into there with those big boys, so I just cut back to the other side of the field and saw there was a lot of grass over there."

Merriweather, who also had an interception, got the defense's second touchdown and stretched the lead to 14-3 with 8:28 left in the half. Safety Sebastian Castro forced a fumble by Joshua Youngblood after an 18-yard reception and Merriweather picked up the ball and had a clear path to the end zone.

"Castro did all the work. I got the easy end of the stick. It was a great play," Merriweather said of his first college TD.

Stevens stretched the lead to 17-3 with a 25-yard field goal just before halftime and Williams tallied on the opening possession of the third quarter. Stevens added a 51-yard field goal in the fourth quarter with a goalpost assist.

Rutgers outgained Iowa 361-277 but the Hawkeyes won the turnover battle 3-0.

"We turned the ball over and when you do that, you know, it rewrites the story immediately," Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said.

Simon finished 28 of 49 for 300 yards and the touchdown despite being under a lot of pressure.

"Losing is never okay, especially in a program like this," he said. "You know, we set the standard really high and it's unacceptable."

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa: The Hawkeyes defense was outstanding for the fourth straight game. However, playing that way next week against one of the top teams in the country will be a major test. Iowa also needs more from its offense to challenge the league.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights showed flashes on offense but the turnovers were the difference. Not having either Noah Vedral or Gavin Wimsatt - both injured - to provide a change of pace at quarterback hurt. The defense seemed to wear with little help from the offense.

DEFENSE

The last time Iowa had two defensive TDs in a game was early last season against Indiana when Riley Moss had two pick-6s against Indiana. The Hawkeyes have scored on an interception return in 15 straight seasons and 20 of 22. The defensive touchdowns were the first of the year for Iowa. The unit scored 28 points last season.


Scoring Summary
First Quarter IowaRut
Rut FG 10:14 Jude McAtamney 28 yd FG 0 3
Iowa TD 5:26 Cooper DeJean 45 yd interception return (Drew Stevens kick) 7 3
Second Quarter IowaRut
Iowa TD 8:28 Kaevon Merriweather 30 yd fumble return (Drew Stevens kick) 14 3
Iowa FG 0:21 Drew Stevens 25 yd FG 17 3
Third Quarter IowaRut
Iowa TD 10:09 Leshon Williams 2 yd run (Drew Stevens kick) 24 3
Fourth Quarter IowaRut
Rut TD 11:15 Aron Cruickshank 18 yd pass from Evan Simon (Jude McAtamney kick) 24 10
Iowa FG 6:08 Drew Stevens 51 yd FG 27 10
Team Stats
  Iowa Rutgers
First downs 15 20
  Rushing 7 6
  Passing 7 13
  Penalty 1 1
3rd Down Efficiency 1-9, 11% 5-16, 31%
4th down efficiency 0-0, -% 2-4, 50%
Rushes-Yards 38-129 24-61
Passing Yards 148 300
Return Yards 155 31
Completions-Attempts-Int 11-17-0 29-50-2
Sacks-Yards Lost 3--18 3--15
Punts 6 4
Punts-Average 42.3 42
Fumbles Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties - Yards 6-50 5-37
Time of Possession 29:22 30:38
Iowa Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Petras 11 17 148 0 0
Rutgers Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
E. Simon 28 49 300 1 2
J. Langan 1 1 0 0 0
Iowa Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
L. Williams 11 64 5.8 1
K. Johnson 15 58 3.9 0
G. Williams 7 17 2.4 0
M. Pottebaum 1 3 3.0 0
S. Petras 4 -13 -3.3 0
Rutgers Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
S. Brown V 6 34 5.7 0
K. Monangai 6 25 4.2 0
A. Salaam 4 8 2.0 0
E. Simon 4 0 0.0 0
J. Langan 3 -1 -0.3 0
Iowa Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
S. LaPorta 4 77 19.3 0
L. Lachey 2 37 18.5 0
L. Williams 2 19 9.5 0
G. Williams 2 10 5.0 0
A. Bruce IV 1 5 5.0 0
Rutgers Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
S. Jones 5 71 14.2 0
A. Cruickshank 7 55 7.9 1
J. Langan 4 48 12.0 0
S. Ryan 3 47 15.7 0
J. Youngblood 1 18 18.0 0
I. Washington 2 16 8.0 0
C. Long 1 16 16.0 0
A. Salaam 2 13 6.5 0
S. Brown V 3 8 2.7 0
M. Alaimo 1 8 8.0 0
Iowa Interceptions
Player Int Yards
C. DeJean 1 45
K. Merriweather 1 33
Rutgers Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Iowa Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
T. Taylor 5 213 42.6
Rutgers Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
A. Korsak 4 168 42.0
Iowa Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Rutgers Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
A. Cruickshank 1 -2 -2.0
Iowa Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
K. Johnson 2 77 38.5
Rutgers Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
A. Cruickshank 2 33 16.5
Iowa Missed FG
Player Length
Rutgers Missed FG
Player Length




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