The Iowa Hawkeyes exploded for four second-quarter touchdowns to rout Illinois 63-0 in Champaign, Ill., on Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback Nate Stanley fired three touchdowns passes in the first half as the Hawkeyes dominated play and held a 35-0 halftime advantage and looked like the team that started the season 6-1 and was ranked as high as No. 18.
Ninth all-time in passing yardage at Iowa, the senior quarterback helped the Hawkeyes break a three-game losing streak by going 13 of 21 for 178 yards.
T.J. Hockenson caught two TD passes, and Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young rushed for two each for the Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten). Noah Fant, A.J. Epenesa and Kyle Groeneweg also scored TDs.
Sargent rushed for a game-high 121 yards on 17 carries in the win — the largest in series history.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz improved to 10-3 against Illinois and won his 150th Big Ten game.
Illinois lost for the fifth time in six games and fell to 1-11 against the Hawkeyes since 2003. The only win was in 2008 during Ron Zook’s tenure, when the Illini won on a last-second field goal.
Quarterback AJ Bush Jr., who rushed for a quarterback-record 187 yards last week against Nebraska, could only muster 18 rushing and 82 passing against Iowa’s stout defense.
Ra’Von Bonner led Illinois with 111 rushing yards on 21 attempts.
The Hawkeyes opened their first-half outburst when Stanley flipped a pass to Fant on a short crossing route for a 9-yard TD, and Sargent wrapped up a 58-yard drive with a 3-yard run off the left side for a 14-0 lead. A fumble forced by Iowa’s Chauncey Golston was scooped by Epenesa and returned 19 yards for a score.
After Epenesa blocked an Illini punt, Stanley tossed an 11-yard pass to Hockenson one play later to make it 28-0, and Hockenson caught his second TD down the left sideline from 37 yards to finish an 83-yard drive at 5:10.
Groeneweg added to the lead when he broke through after a low punt, returning it 61 yards for a 42-0 lead early in the third quarter. Young added scoring runs of 5 and 14 yards sandwiched around Sargent’s second TD.
—Field Level Media