The Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1) entrusted its running game to lead them to a 28-14 win over Missouri State (0-2) on Saturday.
Iowa overcame a shaky start and a variety of mistakes — committing 11 penalties for 100 yards — against Missouri State to pull out its first win of the season.
Against the Bears, the Hawkeyes accumulated 489 yards of total offense — with 296 yards coming on the ground.
Junior running back Mark Weisman had one of his best performances as a Hawkeye. He rushed for 180 yards on a career high 30 carries — while adding two touchdowns.
Weisman has rushed for over 100 yards in back-to-back games.
Going into the fourth quarter Iowa shut out Missouri State and held a 21-0 lead. Three minutes into the fourth the Bears managed a quick touchdown and returned a Jake Rudock interception 28 yards for a touchdown.
The Bears scored 14 unanswered points and had suddenly made the game interesting.
The Hawkeyes were able to overcome their mistakes however, because of a well-executed rushing game and a strong defensive performance.
Iowa only allowed 197 yards of total offense against Missouri State.
Against the Bears, albeit an FCS opponent, Weisman and junior running back Damon Bullock were able to consistently hit the open holes created by their offensive line.
Weisman averaged six yards per carry against the Bears defense — a chunk of his yards came on runs of 21 and 37 yards respectively. The lather came on a third down situation that also put him over 1,000 yards for his career.
Bullock ran for 40 yards on ten carries.
Iowa’s running backs weren’t the only players who had success rushing the football.
Sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock has shown great poise in the pocket through his first two games. One of Rudock’s noticeable attributes so far has been his ability to move outside the pocket.
Rudock carried the ball seven times for 33 yards and two touchdowns.
The Weston, Florida native has shown the ability to run the ball when his receivers are covered and the offensive line is collapsing in front of him but has had trouble throwing the football.
Against Missouri State, Rudock couldn’t find a rhythm with his receivers. He did complete 19 of his 28 passes but only managed 193 yards and an interception — through two games Rudock has one touchdown and three interceptions.
Iowa hopes to continue utilizing its rushing attack but in order to compete in the Big Ten — and to exceed four wins — it’ll need to improve the passing game.