IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa football team notched its first victory of the 2013 season, winning 28-14 over Missouri State on Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes outgained the Bears by nearly 300 yards and rushed for 296 yards. Iowa was 1-1 at this point last year, which was a home loss to Iowa State 9-6.
Iowa finished with 489 yards of total offense, which included 296 on the ground and 193 through the air. The Hawkeye defense limited Missouri State to 197 yards -- 67 in the first half -- and forced a pair of Bear turnovers. Iowa used four running backs in the victory Saturday over the Bears.
Junior Mark Weisman had a career-best 30 carries for 180 yards -- the second-highest total of his career -- with two touchdowns. His 37-yard run in the third quarter pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for his Hawkeye career. He is the 42nd player in school history to surpass 1,000 yards. Iowa keep Weisman fresh by rotating junior Damon Bullock, sophomore Jordan Canzeri and true freshman LeShun Daniels, Jr. vs. the MSU Bears.
"Mark got it going in the second half," said UI head coach Kirk Ferentz. "He looked liked he was getting strong as the game went on, and he gave us a spark." The rotation of four running backs was likely an aid in keeping Weisman fresh.
Sophomore Jake Rudock completed 19-of-28 attempts for 193 yards and had seven carries for 33 yards with two touchdowns. Rudock was making his second career start, in his second game played during his young career at Iowa.
After leading 7-0 at the half, Iowa's offense took the opening drive of the second half 73 yards, but came away scoreless. Weisman's 37-yard rush on third-and-3 to the outside moved the Hawkeyes to the 11. Iowa advanced to the 2, but Missouri State bottled up Weisman on fourth-and-1 to take over on downs.
The Hawkeye defense kept the field position in Iowa's favor by forcing a three-and-out, and junior Kevonte Martin-Manley's 10-yard punt return gave Iowa possession at the Bear 32. After three-straight rushes to the 18, Rudock connected with senior Don Shumpert for an 8-yard gain to the 10. Two plays later, Weisman scored from 10-yards out, giving the Hawkeyes the 14-0 lead. In the first half, Shumpert struggled with two drops, but played better in second half.
Following a quick three-and-out by Missouri State, the Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 21-0 courtesy of an eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive. Iowa opened the series with a 47-yard completion to redshirt freshman George Kittle -- his first career reception -- to move the Hawkeyes into Missouri State territory. Four straight rushes moved Iowa to the 14 before Rudock connected with senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz for a 12-yard gain on third down to set up a first and goal. Two plays later Weisman found the end zone for the second time, scoring from 3-yards out.
Iowa took a 21-0 lead, near the end of three quarters, but Missouri State pulled off 14 points.
Missouri State swung the momentum scoring 14 points in a three-minute span. The Bears put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive, scoring with 14:27 remaining in the game. Missouri State had a pair of 20-plus yard plays on the drive, including a 27-yard touchdown catch by Julian Burton from Kierra Harris.
On the first play of Iowa's ensuing drive, Rudock targeted Fiedorowicz on a short out route on first down. Missouri State linebacker Rique Bentley picked off the attempt and returned it 28-yards for the touchdown, making the score 21-14 with 14:25 left.
"That was a tough sequence for us," said Ferentz. "We give up a touchdown and then right on the next possession give up the touchdown the other way on the pick six. Jake went right back to work and did a good job finishing the game for us."
The Hawkeyes regained control, answering with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Senior Jordan Cotton got Iowa off to a good start with a 35-yard kickoff return. Iowa gained 57 of the 65 yards on the ground, which included a two-yard touchdown run by Rudock -- his second score of the contest.
Missouri State's offense moved the ball for the second straight possession, advancing 43 yards on eight plays. Iowa's defense recorded its second turnover of the game when senior Tanner Miller's diving interception in the end zone ended the Bear drive. The pick was the fifth of Miller's career.
Iowa got on the board on its second drive of the game, using an 11-play, 69-yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. After taking over on its own 31, Weisman rushed for a 21-yard gain on second down to move the Hawkeyes into Missouri State territory. An 18-yard Rudock-to-Duzey completion moved Iowa to the 28.
After three-straight rushes moved Iowa to the 15, Rudock connected with Martin-Manley for a 6-yard gain to the 9, and the Hawkeyes converted a third-and-3 via a 5-yard completion to Fiedorowicz. Following a two-yard loss, Rudock scored from six yards out -- his second rushing touchdown this season.
In its first drive of the second quarter, Iowa moved 45 yards over 12 plays to the Missouri State 15. Following rushes of 8, 2, and 4 yards by Weisman, while freshman Daniels, Jr., scampered for 10 yards to the 36 on his first collegiate carry.
Rudock completed consecutive passes to true freshman wide receiver Matt VandeBerg, seeing his first playing time, on the drive to move inside the 10 yard line, but a false start penalty and a 7-yard loss on a sack forced Iowa to attempt a field goal. Iowa came up empty when Mike Meyer's 33-yard attempt missed wide left.
Iowa's defense gave the Hawkeyes a short field when senior linebacker James Morris forced a fumble by Missouri State running back Vernon Scott near midfield. True freshman Desmond King, who was making his first career start, pounced on the ball, giving Iowa a first-and-10 at the Bear 45 yard line. Iowa couldn't capitalize, gaining just three yards before punting.
The Hawkeye defense bottled up Missouri State in the first half, allowing 67 yards of total offense. Iowa forced three-and-outs on three of the Bear's six drives. Iowa's offense out-gained Missouri State, 204-67 in the opening half.
Iowa continues to have trouble putting opponents away. Iowa lost the Season Opener by a late field goal vs. Northern Illinois (30-27). The last two Iowa State games for Iowa ended in three point losses.
Iowa (1-1) returns to action Sept. 14 in its first road game of the 2013 season. The Hawkeyes travel to Ames, Iowa, for the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk series matchup against Iowa State (0-1). Game time is set for 5 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised by Fox Sports 1.
"We have to improve on everything," said Ferentz. "Moving the ball on offense is one thing, but you've got to finish drives. Defensively, we need to play every series like it's our last."
While Iowa hasn't cleaned up the inconsistency, miscues, turnovers and penalties, you don't want count out anyone, when it comes to a rivalry game. Iowa State enjoyed a bye week on Saturday ahead of next week's Cy-Hawk Game. The Cyclones are coming off a 28-20 loss to Northern Iowa, who will play at Missouri State later this season in MVC play.