IOWA CITY, Iowa — Funny things tend to happen when Iowa and Iowa State get together.
This year’s matchup was a record-setting rout for the Hawkeyes — and it ended with a wedding engagement for one of Iowa’s biggest stars.
C.J. Beathard threw for 235 yards and three touchdowns and 16th-ranked Iowa throttled Iowa State 42-3 on Saturday night, its biggest win over the rival Cyclones in 18 seasons under coach Kirk Ferentz.
Matt VandeBerg had 129 yards receiving and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes. But VandeBerg’s performance will likely be his second favorite memory of a night he finished by proposing to his girlfriend, who said yes.
Asked if he would’ve popped the question had Iowa lost, Vandeberg joked that “we didn’t lose, so I don’t have to answer that question.”
Losing never seemed like an option for Iowa.
LeShun Daniels rushed for 112 yards and a TD to help the Hawkeyes (2-0) beat Iowa State in consecutive seasons for the first time in six years.
Beathard put the game out of reach with the three TD passes in the first half — including a brilliant 12-yard toss to a heavily defended VandeBerg.
“Certain games, when you get a couple of completions and you get in a groove,” said Beathard, who was 19-of-28 passing. “The guys were making the plays that needed to be made.”
By jumping out to a big lead, the Hawkeyes negated Iowa State’s efforts to get star back Mike Warren going after a rough opener. Warren, who led all freshmen nationally with 1,337 yards a year ago, had just 28 on seven carries.
Joel Lanning was 8 of 20 for 86 yards and an interception for Iowa State and was pulled late in the third quarter for Jacob Park, setting up a potential quarterback controversy just two games into the season.
“I think we’ll sit down and figure that situation out and really make the best decision as we move forward,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes offense has the potential to be one of the best that Ferentz has ever had. Iowa did basically whatever it wanted in the first half, gaining 153 yards in the air, 113 on the ground and scoring 28 points. Beathard and VandeBerg, both seniors, hooked up for a number of tough receptions in tight windows and Daniels and Akrum Wadley — who had a rushing and receiving TD — combined for their second straight strong performance. “It’s a lot of hard work. Everyone was doing an excellent job of executing on the offensive side of the ball,” Daniels said.
IOWA STATE: Former coach Paul Rhoads said in his final press conference that the Cyclones would go to a bowl in 2016. That looks highly unlikely — and it’s only the middle of September. Iowa State was hoping to pull off an upset over the favored Hawkeyes like it did in 2012 and 2014. But by the middle of the first quarter, it was clear they didn’t have a chance.
The Hawkeyes could potentially move up a few spots — simply because they’ve done what they were expected to do while other teams have stumbled.
Iowa State had a fourth-down and 1 at the Iowa 36 late in the first half down 28-3. The Cyclones were flagged for an illegal formation, and Lanning was sacked to end the half. Iowa State was also called for two ineligible receiver penalties in three plays in the fourth quarter. …Allen Lazard had 111 yards receiving in a losing effort.
THE LAST WORD
“False start. Everybody but the center,” Referee Mike Defee said after penalizing Iowa in the first quarter. The flag didn’t matter though, as the Hawkeyes opened the scoring two plays later on Beathard’s TD pass to George Kittle.
IOWA: The Hawkeyes will host five-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State next week in their final nonconference game. The Bison beat Eastern Washington 50-44 on overtime Saturday.
IOWA STATE: The Cyclones open Big 12 play on the road against TCU. The Horned Frogs likely won’t be a happy bunch either after falling to Arkansas at home, 41-38, in double overtime.