AMES, Iowa (AP) C.J. Beathard threw three touchdown passes, including the tie-breaker to Riley McCarron with 2:14 left, lifting Iowa to a 31-17 victory over Iowa State on Saturday.
Jordan Canzeri's fumble deep in Iowa State territory had thwarted an earlier drive by the Hawkeyes (2-0). But their defense forced the Cyclones (1-1) to punt, Desmond King returned it to midfield and Beathard took the Hawkeyes to the decisive score, finding the 5-foot-9 McCarron in the back of the end zone from 25 yards out.
An interception by King gave the ball right back to Iowa, and Canzeri scored on an 8-yard run to finish it off.
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The victory followed an emotional week for the Hawkeyes, who are mourning the deaths, four days apart, of former football standout Tyler Sash and former basketball star Roy Marble.
Sash, 27, an all-Big Ten defensive back who intercepted three passes in a 35-3 victory over Iowa State in 2009, died Tuesday at his home in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Marble, the school's career scoring leader, died Friday at age 48 after a yearlong battle with cancer.
The Hawkeyes wore Sash's jersey number, 9, on their helmets and fans of both schools in the sold-out stadium stood for a moment of silence in honor of the two athletes before the game.
On a perfect late summer day that featured a pregame stadium walk-through by Donald Trump, Beathard finished 15 of 25 for 215 yards and no interceptions. Most of his passes went to Matt VandeBerg, who finished with career highs of nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown, though he didn't actually catch the ball on that play.
Teammate Henry Krieger Cobble fumbled on his way to the end zone after catching a pass, but the hustling VandeBerg picked the ball up on the bounce at the Iowa State 3 and carried into the end zone to tie the game at 17 earlier in the fourth quarter.
Both defenses then dominated until the Hawkeyes struck late.
Iowa State's Sam Richardson finished 19 of 35 for 247 yards, two touchdowns and the late interception. But he was sacked four times and Iowa State managed only 63 yards rushing and 310 total yards, just 66 in the second half when Iowa hassled Richardson with a stronger pass rush.
Richardson's 29-yard strike to Jauan Wesley, who returned from a one-game suspension, gave Iowa State a 17-10 halftime lead. The Cyclones seemed to have momentum after thwarted Iowa State's fake field goal on the final play of the opening half, but went three-and-out to start the second half and never again found any offensive rhythm.
Beathard also rushed for 77 yards and showed his elusiveness on a 93-yard drive the pulled the Hawkeyes into a 10-10 late in the first half.
He avoided a safety by stretching out of the end zone on a sack, broke three tackles on a 44-yard scramble, then danced away from pressure on a 19-yard completion to Canzeri. Beathard completed the drive with a 14-yard strike to Tevaun Smith in the back corner of the end zone.
Iowa State answered quickly. Richardson hit walk-on Trever Ryen for 53 yards before firing over the middle to Wesley, who grabbed the ball with his left hand and pulled in for a touchdown on third-and-17 from the 29.
AP college football website: http://collegefootball.ap.org