Aired live on KNTU Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017
Final score — Iowa 31 UNT 14
Nate Stanley threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns, and Iowa (3-0) overcame a slow start to defeat Conference USA foe North Texas (1-2) on Saturday, September 16.
The game was marred by sloppy play and less-than-happy fans, as both teams combined for 19 penalties. The Hawkeyes had a touchdown called back on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and had another overturned after instant replay review.
Iowa came into the game as a heavy favorite, but struggled early with penalties and self-inflicted mistakes, some of which caused Hawkeye fans to loudly jeer the officiating crew.
The Hawkeyes opened the game by marching the length of the field, chewing up 7:42 of the clock The drive was capped off by a 7-yard catch and run by Nick Easley who lost the ball as he crossed the goal line. The play was initially ruled a touchdown, but was overturned to a touchback upon review.
The Mean Green wasted no time on the ensuing drive, going 80-yards in six plays. On 2nd-and-1 from the Iowa 41, running back Jeffrey Wilson found a hole and outran the Hawkeye defense for the game’s opening score to put North Texas on top 7-0.
After that, the game took a turn for the odd.
On Iowa’s next drive, Stanley found running back Akrum Wadley for a 74-yard touchdown pass, but Wadley began showboating before reaching the end zone, prompting the officials to call an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Instead of the game being tied at seven, Iowa resumed the drive from the North Texas 21-yard line.
The penalty didn’t faze Stanley, who found T.J. Hockenson seven plays later for the game tying score.
The game would remain tied until a Miguel Recinos field goal put Iowa up 10-7 with 9:37 left in the half.
The score seem destined to stay that way into half time, but a series of costly mental errors cost Iowa on North Texas’ final drive of the half. A roughing the passer penalty on Mason Fine against Iowa moved the ball into Iowa territory. Fine lay on the ground clutching his knee after the play and was helped to the locker room, but returned to play in the second half.
Two plays later, Iowa was hit with another personal foul penalty after a hit out-of-bounds. Quinn Shanbour, who came in to replace the injured Fine, found Jaylon Guyton for a 9-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the half. It was Shanbour’s only drive of the game.
In the second half, Iowa’s ball control offense went to work with a series of drives that have come to define Iowa football.
A 14-play 74 yard drive on the Hawkeyes first drive of the second half was punctuated by a 23-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to Noah Fant that helped Iowa retake the lead 17-14. Iowa was 4-for-5 on 4th down and 11-of-18 on 3rd down for the game.
After a North Texas punt, Stanley led another classic Iowa march. This time the result was a 16-play 87-yard drive that was finished off by an Ivory Kelly-Martin two yard touchdown run to make the score 24-14. The score was another third down conversion for the Hawkeyes.
On North Texas’ ensuing possession, Iowa’s defense battened down the hatches, intercepting Mason Fine on the first play. The Hawkeyes would cap the game off with another long drive culminating in a two yard touchdown run to put the game out of reach at 31-14.
After two consecutive road losses, North Texas returns home on Saturday, September 23, to face a resurrected University of Alabama-Birmingham in their first Conference USA matchup of the season.
Iowa will welcome #5 Penn State to Iowa City to open Big Ten play on Saturday, September 23.