Iowa revived its stagnant offense by relying on old-school, smash-mouth football.
The Hawkeyes rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the third quarter to run away with a 33-7 win over visiting Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Iowa running back Toren Young led the second-half rushing parade, finishing with eight carries for a team-high 84 yards and a touchdown.
The Hawkeyes tallied 209 yards on the ground, scoring all four touchdowns in the second half.
Iowa’s offense mustered just 58 yards rushing in a frustrating first half that ending with the Hawkeyes holding a 3-0 lead. But Iowa set the tone after intermission in converting four of its first six third-down attempts.
Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley had a pedestrian effort, completing 11 of 23 passes for 108 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
But the Hawkeyes started wearing down NIU’s defensive line early in the third, as Young’s 40-yard run set up Iowa’s first touchdown, a 1-yard strike from Stanley to tight end Noah Fant on fourth and goal to cap a seven-play drive to give the Hawkeyes a 10-0 lead.
After the Huskies went three and out, Young broke loose for a 24-yard run to help open up the scoring floodgates. Two plays later, Ivory Kelly-Martin’s 2-yard touchdown run extended Iowa’s lead to 17-0.
On Iowa’s next possession, Young capped a six-play drive with a 6-yard touchdown to pad the lead to 24-0. The Huskies, who were picked to win the Mid-American Conference West Division by the conference media and coaches, looked like a shell of the team that last season defeated Nebraska in Lincoln.
Northern Illinois sophomore quarterback Marcus Childers struggled to find a rhythm, as the Huskies tallied just 144 yards of total offense through three quarters. Childers completed 14 of 25 passes for 105 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
The Huskies avoided a shutout when Childers tossed a 10-yard scoring toss to Jauan Wesley with 2 minutes, 12 seconds to play.
—Field Level Media