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Iowa State-Iowa grades: Running game fuels Hawkeyes' big win

IOWA CITY, IOWA- SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Akrum Wadley #25 of the Iowa Hawkeyes rushes up field during the third quarter past defensive back Everett Edwards #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones on September 10, 2016 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Akrum Wadley;Everett Edwards

Iowa Hawkeyes 42, Iowa State Cyclones 3

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the Iowa Hawkeyes' 42-3 victory over Iowa State:

Iowa Hawkeyes

Quarterback grades: C.J. Beathard, 69.8; Nathan Stanley, 59.1

Beathard plays well in Hawkeyes' blowout win

QB C.J Beathard made the throws he needed to make when Iowa needed an air boost last night. He finished with a passing grade of 70.4 and hooked up with WR Matt VandeBurg on a couple of big plays. Beathard’s best throws of the night were all down the right sideline, where he used his touch to arc balls over defenders and drop them into the buckets of the receivers. Beathard’s adjusted completion percentage (completion percentage without drops, throwaways, and spikes) was a very impressive 80.8, and he finished 3-for-5 on passes over 20 yards in the air. Those passes led to 82 yards and a touchdown, as they supplemented the Iowa ground attack.

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Top offensive grades:

WR Matt VandeBurg, 79.1

G Sean Welsh, 76.8

OT Ike Boettger, 74.6

RB Akrum Wadley, 74.3

OT Cole Croston, 73.8

Offense dominates in the ground game

WR Matt Vandeburg was on the receiving end of a lot of Beathard's biggest throws, finishing with seven catches on 10 targets for 129 yards and a touchdown, adding a big asset to the offense. The Iowa offensive line had a good performance as well, led by guard Sean Welsh. Welsh had a clean sheet in pass protection while churning out an impressive 79.2 run-blocking grade. OT Ike Boettger had a solid night in both phases to grade out well, and tackle Cole Croston led the way in pass protection with an 80.6 pass-blocking grade. RB Akrum Wadley surprised on the night with nine carries for 49 yards and a touchdown, forcing six missed tackles with some breathtaking cuts. Wadley finished with a 73.2 rushing grade grade, barely edging out fellow running back LeShun Daniels Jr., who also had a good night, earning a 72.9 rushing grade.

Top defensive grades:

NT Nathan Bazata, 81.8

DT Jaleel Johnson, 79.9

DE Anthony Nelson, 77.2

CB Michael Ojemudia, 76.1

CB Desmond King, 75.6

All-around defensive effort holds Cyclones to 3 points

NT Nathan Bazata led the charge for the Iowa defense, as he had three quarterback hurries, two batted passes, three tackles and one run stop. DT Jaleel Johnson was a major factor in run defense, with five stops and an 81.8 run-defense grade. DE Anthony Nelson helped balance out the pass rush by creating five quarterback hurries and one sack against the Cyclones. CBs Michael Ojemudia and Desmond King handled the back end of the defense. Ojemudia had a pass defensed on one of his only two targets, while King only gave up 11 yards on three targets. Also playing a large roll in coverage was LB Ben Niemann, as he made an impressive interception undercutting an out-breaking route for a leaping grab. He finished with a 79.4 coverage grade.

Iowa State Cyclones

Quarterback grades: Jacob Park, 66.3; Joel Lanning, 55.5

Starting QB Lanning struggles along with offensive woes

QB Joel Lanning did not have his best night, finishing 9 for 21 with 96 yards and an interception. Lanning had three batted passes on the night, as he struggled finding windows through the Iowa defensive line. Lanning also spent a long time with ball and was slow to make decisions, as he averaged 3.14 seconds to throw on the night, which is very high. In comparison, QB Jacob Park averaged 2.77 seconds to throw and only had one batted pass. Park showed some positives as he played through the second half, but he also missed some open receivers. The most glaring stat of the night was dropbacks under pressure, in which Park had four but did not get sacked, while Lanning had eight and was sacked on three of those plays.

Top offensive grades:

WR Allen Lazard, 76.5

TE Sam Harms, 68.9

QB Jacob Park, 66.3

WR Darius Lee-Campbell, 65.3

WR Hakeem Butler, 65.0

WR Lazard tries to carry offense with 111-yard receiving game

WR Allen Lazard had one of the few positive performances of the night for the Iowa State offense. Lazard finished with 111 yards on seven catches, forcing one missed tackle after the catch. He earned a 76.4 receiving grade despite two drops on 13 targets. TE Sam Harms had one catch for 16 yards, but did most of his work in the run game, earning a 69.5 run-block grade. WRs Butler and Lee-Campbell were mostly quiet on the night, but took advantage when given an opportunity during a lackluster offensive performance for Iowa State.

Top defensive grades:

NT Desmond Tucker, 79.5

DE Jhaustin Thomas, 72

CB Jarnor Jones, 71.1

DT Pierre Aka, 67.8

CB Jomal Wiltz, 66.2

Nose tackle Tucker has a strong performance

NT Desmond Tucker finished with one quarterback hurry, four tackles, two assists and three run stops. Tucker earned an 80.5 grade in run defense, despite having missed two tackles, which goes to show that he was hard to miss while watching the Cyclone defense. The rest of the Iowa State defensive unit didn’t wow as much, with DE Jhaustin Thomas adding the only sack to help in the pass-rush department. CB Jarnor Jones was only targeted once on a screen play, where he made the tackle for a loss of four yards.

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