(Saturday, October 3rd)
Final Score: (13) Iowa 24, Arkansas State 21
Iowa City, IA (Sports Network) - Ricky Stanzi threw for a career-high 296 yards and three touchdowns, as the 13th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes held on for a 24-21 win over Arkansas State at Kinnick Stadium.
Marvin McNutt grabbed four passes for 121 yards and a pair of scores for the Hawkeyes (5-0), who are off to their first 5-0 start under head coach Kirk Ferentz. Iowa's last 5-0 start was under Hayden Fry in 1995, when they finished 8-4 with a victory over Washington in the Sun Bowl.
"We're excited," Stanzi said. "The big thing is that we won, wins aren't easy. We're excited right now. We're holding ourselves to a high standings. We're not going to get too high or too low, but stay right in the middle. We're going to keep playing the entire season through the ups and the downs."
Iowa, which has won nine straight games dating back to last year, was coming off an emotional win at Penn State and will resume its Big Ten schedule starting with Michigan next week at home.
Corey Leonard completed 22-of-40 passes for 216 yards, two TDs and an interception, as Arkansas State (1-3) suffered its third straight loss since a season-opening win versus Mississippi Valley State. The Red Wolves, who got 76 yards and a score on eight catches from Brandon Thompkins, will pay a visit to Louisiana-Monroe on October 13.
"I'm very proud of our football team and the way they competed," said Arkansas State head coach Steve Roberts. "I'm disappointed that we had opportunities to make plays, and those cost us our chances to win the game. We're not just here to play well, we want to play well and win."
Iowa was still riding the fumes of last week's big win over the Nittany Lions and raced out to a 14-0 lead on its first two possessions. Stanzi got the Hawkeyes on the board with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Trey Stross for a 7-0 lead at the 12:16 mark of the first quarter.
The Hawkeyes continued to play tough defense and capitalized on Stanzi's 41- yard touchdown strike to McNutt with 6:55 remaining in the opening quarter.
Arkansas State, however, picked up the slack and finally got on the board late in the second quarter. Leonard drove the team 89 yards in nine plays and connected on a 14-yard TD pass to Thompkins with 44 seconds to go in the first half for a 14-7 score at the game's midway point.
Tyler Sash intercepted a Leonard pass on the first Red Wolves drive of the second half, and Stanzi found McNutt for a score from 43 yards away on the second play of the ensuing drive, as Iowa regained a 14-point lead.
Red Wolves kicker Josh Arauco later missed a 26-yard field goal attempt with less than four minutes to go in the third quarter, spoiling a big scoring opportunity and a chance to pull within 11 points.
Iowa went for it on 4th-and-8 late in the third stanza and caught a break when Arkansas State defensive back M.D. Jennings was whistled for pass interference on McNutt. Three plays later, though, Stanzi was picked off by Red Wolves linebacker Demario Davis, who rumbled 75 yards for a 21-14 score at the 14:41 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Hawkeyes then gave themselves some breathing room on the following drive with Daniel Murray's 20-yard field goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Arkansas State converted a 4th-and-1 chance inside the Iowa 25-yard line late in the game and it eventually paid off. Leonard faked a QB sneak before firing a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Trevor Gillott for a 24-21 score with 2:01 remaining.
Iowa recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out most of the remaining clock, as Arkansas State had no timeouts remaining. With 10 seconds left, the Red Wolves took over after a punt, and Leonard attempted a last-second Hail Mary play, but the pass fell incomplete to end the game.
This was the first meeting between Iowa and Arkansas State on the football field...Stanzi was 18-of-26 passing and was also picked off twice...Iowa safety Tyler Sash has five interceptions this season...Ferentz owns three 4-0 starts in his Iowa tenure. He also has three nine-game winning streaks with the Hawkeyes...The Hawkeyes have won 41 of their last 49 games at Kinnick Stadium...Red Wolves head coach Steve Roberts is 38-50...Iowa running back Brandon Wegher had 49 yards on 11 carries...Stross finished with 64 yards on four receptions.
10/03 20:14:39 ET