Week 5 halftime reaction — Iowa vs. Middle Tennessee

Iowa’s offense showed a lot of production and MTSU’s offense didn’t. The Hawkeyes lead 24-0 at the half.

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Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent carries the ball during a football game between Iowa and Middle Tennessee State at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 28, 2019.

Anna Kayser and Pete Mills

Iowa’s defense, Middle Tennessee’s lack of offense force quick punts

Iowa controlled the ball through the majority of the first quarter after laying down numerous three-and-outs against the Middle Tennessee offense.

A sack by Cedrick Lattimore cemented Iowa’s defensive dominance in the opening 15 minutes as the offense ran up the score.

The Blue Raider offense was able to covert a first down early in the second quarter and tacked on three more. It finally made it into Iowa territory in the second quarter but never made it past Iowa’s 40-yard line.

In the first half, the Blue Raiders possessed the ball for 7:33 minutes, giving Iowa more than enough time to rack up 24 points and take a wide lead. That, paired with only 81 yards of total offense (24 rushing, 57 passing), meant the Raiders didn’t so fare well.

Quarterback Asher O’Hara completed only 6 of 10 passes, longest coming for 21 yards to Jimmy Marshall. O’Hara was also Mid Tennessee’s leading rusher, running for a first-down on 15 yards. Of his 22 yards gained, only 9 remained after subtracting yards lost.

Anna Kayser

O-Line, running backs recharged after bye week.

The Iowa running game may have taken a step forward after Iowa’s bye week.

It struggled against the Iowa State two weeks ago, with no single Iowa running back able to eclipse 60 yards on the ground. But the first half against Mid Tennessee featured some of the best Iowa rushing attacks this season.

The Hawkeyes rushed for more than 6.1 yards per carry in the first half, 173 yards on 28 carries. Mekhi Sargent — who saw limited action in Iowa’s matchup with Iowa State — was at full strength in the first half, piling up 91 yards and a touchdown. Fullback Brady Ross even got in on the action, powering in his first career touchdown on the ground in the second quarter.

Much of the offense came courtesy of Iowa offensive line’s dominance, which bullied the Mid Tennessee defense, even without being at full strength. Injured lineman Alaric Jackson was seen warming up with the team before the game. With Jackson added to the line, perhaps as early as at Michigan next week, the possibilities might be limitless.

Pete Mills

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