ULM blown out by Iowa 45-17

Louisiana-Monroe’s brutal September is in the books.

After hanging with TCU and Florida State for stretches, the

Warhawks never had a chance against Iowa.

James Vandenberg threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns and

the Hawkeyes cruised past Louisiana-Monroe 45-17 on Saturday.

Marcus Coker added 113 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns

for the Hawkeyes (3-1), who raced out to a 28-3 halftime lead on

the strength of a revitalized passing attack in their final tuneup

before the start of Big Ten play.

Vandenberg threw for 198 yards in the opening half. His 1-yard

TD plunge opened the scoring, and Vandenberg found Marvin McNutt

for TD pass of 13 and 17 yards to put the Hawkeyes up by 25 late in

the second quarter.

Cody Wells had 162 yards passing for ULM (1-3), which gained 352

yards of offense but had no answer for Iowa’s suddenly potent

passing game.

The Warhawks finished 0-3 against BCS opponents, falling to the

Seminoles, Horned Frogs and now Iowa. They get a much-needed bye

week before opening Sun Belt play against Arkansas State on Oct.

8.

”We knew it going in. It’s certainly less challenging than

Auburn, LSU, Arkansas last season,” ULM coach Todd Berry said.

”We will have a week to heal up and right now, to be honest with

you, we are a really beat up football team.”

Louisiana-Monroe started the second half playing like the team

some thought could give the Hawkeyes serious trouble.

By then, it hardly mattered.

The Warhawks finally found the end zone with 9:35 left in the

third quarter, capping an impressive drive on a 4-yard touchdown

run by quarterback Kolton Browning. Iowa simply drove right back

down the field, jumping back ahead 35-10 on Coker’s 2-yard run.They

ran a 3-3-5 (defensive formation), so running lanes were bound to

be there,” Coker said. ”We were just ready to go.”

ULM answered with a 1-yard TD run by Tavarese Maye. But a failed

onside kick set the table for Vandenberg’s 23-yard TD pass to

Keenan Davis with 39 seconds left in the third quarter that gave

the Hawkeyes a 42-17 lead.

Wells and Browning combined for 293 yards through the air, but

neither threw a TD pass. ULM couldn’t do much on the ground either,

rushing for just 59 yards on 30 attempts.

”We got to the red zone and couldn’t score,” ULM wide receiver

Anthony McCall said. ”You can’t beat a team like Iowa on field

goals.”

Iowa used a hurry-up offense to erase a 17-point deficit in the

fourth quarter and stun Pitt 31-27 last week in the largest

comeback in school history.

The traditionally conservative Hawkeyes went right back to a

no-huddle look on Saturday.

It paid off with by far their best start of the season.

Vandenberg capped a 74-yard opening drive with a 1-yard plunge

to put Iowa up 7-0 less than four minutes in.

ULM answered with Justin Manton’s 43-yard field goal. But the

Hawkeyes drove right back down the field, pushing their lead to

14-3 with 1:39 left in the first on a textbook fade pass from

Vandenberg to McNutt from 13 yards out.

Micah Hyde took a Warhawks punt back to the ULM 29-yard line,

and six plays later Coker ran for a 4-yard TD that put the Hawkeyes

up 21-3.

Vandenberg and McNutt hooked up for a touchdown the fourth time

this season with 2:07 left in the first half.

The 6-foot-4 McNutt sealed himself between the cornerback and

the sideline and plucked his 17-yard TD grab out of the air, giving

Iowa a 28-3 lead.

McNutt caught seven passes for 100 yards, reaching the 100-yard

mark for the second game in a row, and Iowa earned 28 first downs

and converted all six of its red zone chances.

”I think some of it’s a function of the fact that Iowa’s done a

nice job. I think some of it’s a fact that we’re emotionally tired

right now which is my responsibility,” Berry said. ”Thirdly is,

we’re not quite as good as what everybody thought we were on

defense.”