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Second half safety gave Iowa an offensively ill-fitting game as they beat South Dakota State 7-3

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa defense made two second-half safeties as the Hawkeyes kicked off the season with a 7-3 win over South Dakota State on Saturday.

Neither team could do much offensively. Iowa he finished with 166 yards offense and South Dakota State he had 120 yards. The two teams combined had more punts (21) than first downs (16).

“It’s obviously a very unusual scoring line,” said Iowa manager Kirk Ferencz. But I’ll take it today

Last season, Iowa ranked 7th in the nation with four defensive touchdowns, so the Hawkeyes are used to scoring points from the side of the ball. And they needed them on the day when the attack was going downhill.

“The standard has been set,” said linebacker Jack Campbell, who recorded one safety and finished with 12 tackles.

The first safety came after Iowa’s Tory Taylor punted at South Dakota’s 1-yard line in the third quarter. One play later, after a handoff, Campbell grabbed running back Isaiah Davis and knocked him down one yard before he exited the end zone.

The second safety came in the fourth when Iowa’s Joe Evans sacked quarterback Mark Gronowski in the end zone with 2 and 11 plays.

“We’re trying to score as many points as we can on defense, and it’s possible,” said Iowa safety Quin Schulte.

The Hawkeyes kept South Dakota pinned to their own territory for most of the game. Ten of Taylor’s punts he was down inside his 20-yard line on Jackrabbit, one for two and one for one.

“Tory did a great job,” Ferenc said. “I’ve never seen a punter so passionate about a game.”

Taylor averaged 47.9 yards per punt.

“The field position was really tough for us,” said South Dakota State University coach John Steigelmeyer.

Iowa took a 3–0 lead in the first quarter on Aaron Blom’s 46-yard field goal. South Dakota’s only point was Hunter Dustman’s 44-yard field goal with 20 seconds remaining until halftime.

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras completed 11 of 25 passes for 109 yards. Leshon Williams had his yardage rushing for 72 yards.

Gronowski had 87 yards on 10 of 26 passes. Davis had 18 carries for 50 yards.

injury report

Iowa was without three offensive starters, wide receivers Keegan Johnson and Nico Ragaini, and running back Gavin Williams. All three missed his camp preseason due to undisclosed injuries. Starting linebacker Justin Jacobs left the game with an injury in the second quarter and did not return.

South Dakota State tight end Tucker Craft didn’t return last season after catching a pass in the first quarter during the second-team AP FCS All-Americans with an injury.

Takeaway

Iowa posted one of the worst offenses in the nation last year despite a 10-win season, finishing 99th in offensive scoring and 121st in total offensive. With in-state rival Iowa State coming up next Saturday, Ferenc will have plenty of questions to answer.

“I still have a lot of faith in him,” Ferenc said. “I think the noise outside is probably a lot louder than inside.”

South Dakota State, who consistently fell 2-10 against FBS teams, struggled to move the ball last season against Iowa’s defense, which was one of the best in the nation.

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