IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Nate Stanley threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, Mekhi Sargent ran for 91 yards and a score, and No. 20 Iowa beat Miami (Ohio) 38-14 in their season opener on Saturday night.
The Hawkeyes got off to a slow start, but that was erased by the consistent ground game and some big plays from Stanley, who finished 21 of 30 in Iowa’s sixth straight season-opening win.
Iowa opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal by Keith Duncan, but trailed in the second quarter after RedHawks quarterback Brett Gabbert — brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert — picked apart the Iowa secondary on a 77-yard scoring drive. Gabbert finished 17 of 27 for 186 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Hawkeyes used a combination of Sargent and Toren Young on the ground and Stanley finding 10 different receivers to counter and slowly pull away. Sargent had 14 carries and Young finished with nine for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Two moments stood out in particular for Iowa, for different reasons. Starting left tackle Alaric Jackson left the game in the first quarter with an apparent right knee injury. Conversely, Michigan transfer Oliver Martin caught his first pass with the Hawkeyes, a nine-yard touchdown from Stanley. He finished with two catches for 14 yards and the score.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes’ performance may have been uneven — and the uncertain health status of starting left tackle Alaric Jackson looms — coach Kirk Ferentz’s crew eventually did what was expected as the game wore on. The rushing attack was consistent, and Martin’s splash onto the scene was the highlight.
Miami: Despite how the game got away from the RedHawks, Gabbert had multiple shining moments. It remains to be seen if Miami’s quarterback competition is finished, but Gabbert helped himself, especially with the touch he displayed on his touchdown passes.
Iowa may not have wowed anyone Saturday night, but the season-opening victory should keep the Hawkeyes comfortably in the top 25.
Iowa stays home next week, opening Big Ten play by hosting Rutgers on Saturday.
Miami (OH) returns home to host Tennessee Tech on Saturday.