Hawkeyes run away from Illinois late

Hawkeyes run away from Illinois late
The Associated Press

IOWA CITY (AP) — Once again, Iowa was letting a supposedly overmatched opponent hang around.

A couple of big plays — one by a safety making his season debut — helped the Hawkeyes find their rhythm.

Nate Stanley threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and Iowa rolled past Illinois 45-16 on Saturday, snapping a two-game losing streak.

Safety Brandon Snyder added an 89-yard interception return for a score in his first game back from a knee injury for the Hawkeyes (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten), who outscored Illinois (2-3, 0-2) 35-3 in the final 30:08 after a start reminiscent of the sluggish one they had before blowing past North Texas last month.

“I was just trying to take in the moment,” said Snyder, who tore his ACL just six months ago. “I’m just thankful to be healthy.”

A successful fake punt helped Iowa take a 17-13 lead into halftime, and Snyder’s pick-six came with 6:40 left in the third quarter and put Iowa ahead 24-13.

“It really kind of ignited us a bit,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He just continues to earn everybody’s respect within our program.”

Stanley found Matt VandeBerg for a 39-yard TD reception to push the lead to 15 early in the fourth quarter, and Akrum Wadley put the game away on an 18-yard touchdown run with 8:49 left.

Wadley finished with 115 yards, surpassing the 100-yard mark for the third time this season, and he added a 2-yard TD reception.

Jeff George Jr. threw for 246 yards in his first start of the season, but he also threw three interceptions without finding the end zone.

“That’s never a good thing,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said about George’s turnovers. “He made a lot of good plays as much as anything.”

Illinois…..3 10 3 0—16

At Iowa……7 10 7 21—45

First Quarter

Illinois: FG McLaughlin 29, 9:32

Iowa: Easley 5 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 4:16

Second Quarter

Iowa: FG Recinos 37, 9:06

Illinois: Bonner 2 run (McLaughlin kick), 6:40

Illinois: FG McLaughlin 24, 2:49

Iowa: Wadley 2 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), :08

Third Quarter

Iowa: Snyder 89 interception return (Recinos kick), 6:40

Illinois: FG McLaughlin 40, 2:43

Fourth Quarter

Iowa: VandeBerg 39 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 14:22

Iowa: Wadley 18 run (Recinos kick), 8:49

Iowa: Kelly-Martin 3 pass from Wiegers (Recinos kick), 3:36

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: Illinois, Epstein 7-83, Corbin 7-61, Bonner 12-47, George 3-11, (Team) 1-(minus 2). Iowa, Wadley 23-115, T.Young 8-32, Kelly-Martin 2-22, Hooker 1-18, Fant 1-3, Stanley 3-1.

Passing: Illinois, George 22-45-3 246. Iowa, Stanley 17-32-1 247, Wiegers 1-2-0 3.

Receiving: Illinois, C.Green 4-28, Dorsey 3-75, M.Turner 3-45, Smalling 3-44, Dudek 3-20, Davis 2-11, Corbin 2-3, Thieman 1-13, Crouch 1-7. Iowa, Easley 7-59, Fant 3-78, VandeBerg 2-48, Hockenson 2-41, Wadley 2-14, Smith-Marsette 1-7, Kelly-Martin 1-3.

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