IOWA CITY — Iowa left no doubt.
By the time Matt Nelson dropped Iowa State quarterback Joel Lanning for a seven-yard loss on the final snap of the first half, the Hawkeyes were well on their way to retaining possession of the Cy-Hawk Trophy with a 42-3 rout of the Cyclones at Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa dominated its instate rival with the precision passing of quarterback C.J. Beathard, the circus-like catches that were part of a big day for Matt VandeBerg and a defense which limited ISU to 84 rushing yards through three quarters before reserves took over.
By that time, the 16th-ranked Hawkeyes were rolling toward their most lopsided win over the Cyclones since a 63-20 win over ISU in 1997.
And as it ended, the remnants of a sellout crowd of 70,585 chanted “Hawkeye State’’ as Iowa players surrounded the Cy-Hawk Trophy behind the Hawkeye bench, hoisted it on their shoulders and carried it into the locker room.
Iowa positioned itself to earn its first win over Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium since 2010 when Beathard threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score to send the Hawkeyes into halftime with a 28-3 advantage.
Beathard completed 19-of-28 passes for 235 yards, connecting on 13 of his first 16 attempts against an ISU defense that sacked him twice, but never rattled the senior.
“It’s almost like playing against Peyton Manning in some instances,’’ first-year Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “He knows his offense, he’s really comfortable with his offense so there are no coordinators making the calls. That makes him really dangerous.’’
Beathard called it a collective effort.
“When the offense is working like that, starting with the guys up front and the defense is doing what it did shutting them down, it takes a lot of stress off everybody,’’ Beathard said.
VandeBerg got everything he wanted as well, including a “yes’’ when he proposed marriage to his girlfriend shortly after the game.
The senior caught seven passes for a career-high 129 yards against an Iowa State defense he riddled for a career-best nine catches a year ago. VandeBerg’s work included a 25-yard carry on a reversal which opened the Hawkeyes’ third touchdown drive of the game.
“It’s been a pretty good day,’’ VandeBerg said.
He wasn’t alone. After punting on its first possession of the game, Iowa reached the end zone on its final four drives of the half while piling up 435 yards of offense.
Beathard riddled the Cyclones’ defense with an 11-of-14 start through two quarters, connecting with VandeBerg five times for 89 yards in the first half.
“We wanted to come out fast, come out strong,’’ Beathard said. “We were able to get that done.’’
The Iowa quarterback, recording 153 of his passing yards in the opening half, hit three different receivers with touchdown strikes and carried the ball into the end zone himself to help Iowa construct its halftime lead.
Beathard connected with George Kittle and Akrum Wadley on touchdown passes of nine and 26 yards in the first quarter, grabbing a 14-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game before Iowa State answered with its only scoring drive of the night.
Lanning hit Allen Lazard with passes for pick-ups of eight and 10 yards before connecting with the preseason all-Big 12 receiver for a 30-yard gain to the Iowa 7-yard line.
The Cyclones (0-2) had to settle for a 31-yard field goal by Cole Netten after Lanning was sacked for losses totaling 10 yards by Jaleel Johnson and Anthony Nelson on consecutive snaps.
The score with 32 seconds remaining in the opening quarter was about as good as it got for Iowa State, which struggled to deal against an Iowa defensive which limited it to three first downs in the opening half as well as persistent problems with penalties. The Cyclones were flagged 10 times for 73 yards.
Iowa grew its lead with a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter, riding momentum gained by VandeBerg’s reverse to a score when he finished off a 10-play, 66-yard march with a 12-yard touchdown catch with 10:15 remaining in the second quarter.
Beathard hit VandeBerg with a 31-yard strike to open Iowa’s next series, a drive the Iowa quarterback finished off with a one-yard plunge into the end zone.
Iowa (2-0) extended its 25-point halftime lead with a pair of touchdowns over a 2:21 span late in the third quarter, the second following Ben Niemann’s first career interception.
The pick ended Lanning’s 8-for-20 game as Campbell opted to use backup Jacob Park over the final quarter, a couple of minutes before Iowa freshman Nate Stanley lined up behind center to finish the game for the Hawkeyes.
Wadley scored his second touchdown of the game on an 18-yard run two snaps before Niemann’s interception helped set up a 43-yard touchdown run by LeShun Daniels, who led Iowa with 15 carries for 112 yards.
“It felt pretty good to be out there and help lead us to a victory,’’ said Daniels, who left last year’s win at Iowa State with an injury.