IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s defense came with two safeties in the second half and the Hawkeyes opened the season with a 7-3 win over South Dakota State on Saturday.
Both teams couldn’t do much offensively. Iowa finished with 166 yards of offense, while South Dakota State had 120. The two teams combined for more points (21) than the first downs (16).
The first safety came after Tory Taylor of Iowa dropped his run at South Dakota State’s 1-yard line in the third quarter. A game later, linebacker Jack Campbell grabbed Isaiah Davis back after taking the handoff and lowered him three feet to get out of the end zone.
The second safety came in the fourth, when Joe Evans sacked Iowa quarterback Mark Gronowski in the end zone on a second-and-11 game.
Iowa took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter on Aaron Blom’s 46-yard field goal. The lone points for South Dakota State came on Hunter Dustman’s 44-yard field goal with 20 seconds left before halftime.
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras completed 11 of 25 passes for 109 yards. Leshon Williams had 72 rushing yards.
Gronowski was 10 of 26 who passed 87 yards. Davis had 18 carries for 50 yards.
Iowa was without three offensive starters – wide receivers Keagan Johnson and Nico Ragaini, and running back Gavin Williams. All three missed time in the preseason camp due to unknown injuries. Starting linebacker Jestin Jacobs left the game in the second quarter with an injury and did not return.
South Dakota State tight end Tucker Kraft, a second-team Associated Press FCS All-American last season, was injured after catching a pass in the first quarter and did not return.
THE TAKE OUT
Iowa had one of the worst offenses in the nation last year, despite a season with 10 wins, finishing 99th in fouls scoring and 121st in total offense. Petras’ battle sparked much booing from the sold-out crowd at Kinnick Stadium, and with in-state rival Iowa State entering this Saturday, there will be plenty of questions for coach Kirk Ferentz to answer about Petras, who is in his third place. season is an appetizer.
South Dakota State, which fell to 2-10 against FBS teams, struggled to move the ball against the Iowa defense, which was one of the best in the country last season.