IOWA CITY, Ia. — Hawkeye fans got their football fix Saturday afternoon. Now they have to wait until the Aug. 31 home opener against Northern Illinois for their next look at a team with some mystery.
Until then, what’s there to talk about?
A hungry fan base that is looking for signs of optimism following a 4-8 season was able to identify some fresh talent in Iowa’s spring-ending scrimmage that might keep the conversation going the next four months.
The scrimmage was supposed to be a practice until a surprise Wednesday announcement that coach Kirk Ferentz was changing things up with four 15-minute quarters of black-and-gold vs. black-and-gold.
The university didn’t keep official stats, so the Register decided to track unofficial numbers that revealed a few surprise play-makers.
On a team looking for someone to step up at wide receiver after seven touchdown passes all last season, a few players were sure to make first-year receivers coach Bobby Kennedy notice.
One was Cameron Wilson, who made 10 catches for 133 yards. Another was Blake Haluska, who made four catches, including the game’s best snag. Neither was listed on the team’s two-deep.
On a third-and-6 in the third quarter from the 25, Cody Sokol fired a sideline pass to Haluska who leapt over his defender, tipped the ball in the air and made the catch going out of bounds at the 2. Sokol scored on a bootleg two plays later.
Haluska, a junior who was an all-state quarterback at Carroll and is the younger brother of former Hawkeye basketball player Adam, ended the day with 58 yards.
“To be honest with you, he was fairly invisible for a majority of spring practice, and then this past week he has really done some good things,” Ferentz said. “He had a good practice both Wednesday and Thursday and caught our eye. And certainly today.
“Historically, for us, we’ve needed people to step forward that maybe nobody saw coming. I’m not ready to crown him right now, but certainly this has been a good three-day period. We need help everywhere.”
Another receiver that got some early targets was sophomore Jacob Hillyer. He caught four balls for 37 yards.
The two receivers listed as first team had opposite levels of success. Kevonte Martin-Manley, Iowa’s reigning TD catches champ with two a year ago, had five grabs Saturday for 42 yards. But Tevaun Smith was targeted at least five times and didn’t have a catch.
The three-way quarterback battle continued. Jake Rudock (160 on 27 attempts), Sokol (185 on 20) and C.J. Beathard (118 on 19) combined for 466 yards passing. Rudock lost one fumble.
At running back, it was a rough day for Damon Bullock. He didn’t have a positive gainer until his fifth carry and ended up with nine rushes for zero total yards. Jordan Canzeri had two of the day’s most eye-catching plays — a 46-yard TD catch off a screen pass and a 25-yard run after reversing fields.
Ferentz noticeably kept two of his biggest expected offensive producers out of harm’s way for the most part. Starting running back Mark Weisman had five carries for 11 yards and tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz had one catch for six yards.
UNOFFICIAL IOWA SPRING GAME STATISTICS
Passing — Cody Sokol 15-20-0-185 (1 TD); Jake Rudock 16-27-0-160; C.J. Beathard 11-19-0-118 (1 TD), Kyle Anderson 1-1-0-3.
Rushing* — Mike Malloy 12-61 (1 TD); Jordan Canzeri 13-50; Beathard 2-37; Jordan Cotton 1-33; Sokol 4-32; Kevonte Martin-Manley 1-20; Mark Weisman 5-11; Rudock 3-7; Adam Cox 5-5; Macon Plewa 2-1; Damon Bullock 9-0.
Receiving — Cameron Wilson 10-133; Martin-Manley 5-42; Blake Haluska 4-58; Jacob Hillyer 4-37; George Kittle 4-32; Canzeri 3-56 (1 TD); Ray Hamilton 3-24; Jake Duzey 2-29 (1 TD); Cox 2-17; Jordan Cotton 1-14; Malloy 1-8; Henry Krieger-Coble 1-7; Weisman 1-6; C.J. Fiedorowicz 1-6, Bullock 1-(-2).
First quarter — Malloy 1-yard TD run; Mike Meyer 38-yard field goal. Second quarter — Marshall Koehn 23-yard field goal. Third quarter — Sokol 2-yard TD run; Canzeri 46-yard TD pass from Beathard. Fourth quarter — Alden Haffar 32-yard field goal; Duzey 15-yard TD pass from Sokol; Macon Plewa 1-yard TD run.
*sack yardage was not totaled
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football