AMES, Iowa (AP) — In a rivalry as tight and as heated as Iowa and Iowa State, it’s usually the little things that make the difference.
The No. 19 Hawkeyes yet again made three or four more plays than the Cyclones, and their winning streak over Iowa State now sits at five because of it.
Nate Stanley threw for 201 yards and ran for a score, and Iowa made a big fourth-down stop late in the game that allowed the Hawkeyes to beat Iowa State 18-17 on Saturday night.
Keith Duncan kicked four field goals for the Hawkeyes (3-0), who improved to 4-0 against Iowa State coach Matt Campbell in a game twice delayed nearly 3 hours because of lightning.
“It’s hard to script and prepare for (the weather),” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Games like this come down to mental toughness, physical toughness. Nobody got discouraged. We kept swinging the bat, kept playing.”
Six hours after the game started, the Hawkeyes kept their composure in two crucial sequences.
Trailing 18-17 in the closing minutes, Iowa State drove to the Iowa 34 before a false start, a slip by quarterback Brock Purdy and an incompletion brought up fourth-and-13. The Cyclones went for it and, after offsetting penalties led to a do-over, Purdy overthrew Deshaunte Jones near the end zone with 2:00 left to turn the ball over on downs.
The Cyclones got another chance when they forced a quick punt. But the ball hit Datrone Young in the back and Iowa’s Devonte Young recovered it, sealing the closest win in the 67-game history of the series for the Hawkeyes.
“The game obviously, in a lot of ways was frustrating. And frustrating because it was our detail that really earned us what happened at the end,” Campbell said.
Iowa State (1-1) opened the scoring on a 51-yard double pass from Purdy to Jones — a converted prep quarterback — to La’Michael Pettway midway through the first quarter. The Cyclones then moved ahead 14-6 just 57 seconds into the second half on a 73-yard strike from Purdy to Tarique Milton, who breezed past Iowa’s banged-up secondary.
Iowa’s defense stiffened, though, and Stanley’s 1-yard touchdown plunge gave the Hawkeyes a 15-14 lead with 12:10 left. Connor Assalley’s 26-yard field goal gave Iowa State the lead with 7:46 to go but Duncan answered from 39 yards with 4:51 left with what proved to be the game-winning kick.
“I missed some throws,” said Stanley, who was 22 of 35 passing, “but we won, and that’s what matters to me.”
Purdy finished with 276 yards passing and a touchdown for the Cyclones, whose home winning streak ended after seven games.
Iowa was on the road against its biggest rival and had to deal with two weather delays, turning an afternoon kickoff into a primetime affair. Yet the Hawkeyes still found a way to win, going 10 of 19 on third down and winning the turnover battle, 2-0.
Iowa State looked much better than it did in its opener two weeks ago, when it sleepwalked past Northern Iowa 29-26 in triple overtime. But this was yet another agonizing loss to the Hawkeyes for the Cyclones, who fell 44-41 in overtime two years ago in Ames.
Iowa State ran the ball just 19 times as opposed to 35 passes, and Purdy was credited with nine of those carries. The Cyclones’ search for a lead back will continue into next week. … Duncan’s field goals were from 25, 40, 42 and 39 yards. Though they weren’t necessarily tough kicks, Duncan is now 8 of 8 this season. … Four different Iowa players had at least three catches, led by Nico Ragaini with five for 43 yards. … Iowa State outgained Iowa 418 to 313, but the Hawkeyes held the ball for 34:58. … Milton finished with eight catches for 144 yards.
ISU DEJA VU
Iowa State was down a similar road in 2018. It started 1-3 after bad weather washed out the opener, but the Cyclones rallied to finish 8-5 and earn a bid to the Alamo Bowl. Iowa State was picked to finish third in the Big 12 this season, and if it can clean up some of its sloppiness that is still very possible. “It’s one of those things that’s unfortunate,” Campbell said. “But from an attitude, effort, investment standpoint, really proud of our kids. From a Coach Campbell standpoint, it’s obviously got to be better.”
HE SAID IT
“I came in (and) someone was eating a hoagie,” Ferentz joked after support staffers went out and grabbed sandwiches during the second delay, which last just over 2 hours.
The Hawkeyes might not move up that much, but the win was nevertheless impressive.
Iowa is off next week before hosting Middle Tennessee on Sept. 28.
Iowa State hosts Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday.