The first half of this one looked like your typical Iowa football game. Iowa led just 3-0 over Rutgers after a bad Deacon Hill interception inside the 10 with under a minute to go. But the second half was a completely different story.
Iowa rattled off 19 points and Hill had a career day. The Hawkeyes’ quarterback threw for a career-high 223 passing yards while leading the offense to 402 total yards. They hadn’t eclipsed 400 total yards since 2021.
The result: A 22-0 Iowa victory, and arguably the best the team has looked all season.
“I think the biggest thing is trying to grow each week,” Hill said. “I’ve felt like I’ve gotten a little bit better each week that we’ve been playing, the same goes for the offense. We’ve all been trying to work with what we’ve had and I feel like we’ve been growing each and every week.”
“I thought Brian called a great game. They put a great plan together, and so I think it just shows how much we’ve grown.”
“We have this saying on our team, It’s called break the rock,” left tackle Mason Richman shared.
“What it is is when I grow tired and weary I look at a stone cutter and I see him swinging his hammer out of stone. And he just keeps going and keeps going. He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t stop and look for cracks in that rock. He doesn’t stop to wipe sweat off his face. He just keeps swinging his hammer. And that’s what this team is all about. We don’t go looking for awards or anything. We’re nose-to-the-grindstone. We’re swinging the hammer and we’re not resting until that rock breaks and when it breaks we know it’s not that one swing that we did, but it’s all the ones that came before it.”
There’s breaking and there’s building — both positives for the Hawkeyes in this case.
“I’m anxious to see the film, but that’s how you build things,” Ferentz said. “We’ve done a lot of build around here and that’s part of the process with guys, you’ve got to try to build and rebuild.”
While it remains to be seen whether Iowa turned a corner offensively or just put together a great outing, they’re now one win away from clinching the Big Ten West and a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship.