No. 14 Iowa throttles Middle Tennessee 48-3

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Iowa running back Mekhi Sargent (10) tries to break a tackle by Middle Tennessee cornerback Teldrick Ross, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Nate Stanley threw for 276 yards and two touchdowns, Toren Young added a career-high 131 yards rushing and 14th-ranked Iowa throttled Middle Tennessee 48-3 on Saturday, moving to 4-0 for just the second time in 10 years.

Brandon Smith caught both of Stanley’s TD throws for the Hawkeyes. Iowa gained 644 yards, its most in coach Kirk Ferentz’s 21 seasons in charge.

Iowa racked up 358 of those yards in the first half and scored on its first four drives, a stretch headlined by an 18-yard TD throw from Stanley to Smith, to jump ahead 24-0 midway through the second quarter.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s 14-yard touchdown run off a jet sweep pushed Iowa’s lead to 34-3 with 2:19 left in the third quarter.

Asher O’Hara was 15 of 22 passing for 110 yards for Middle Tennessee (1-3). The Blue Raiders’ defense was gashed for over eight yards a play.

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa: The Hawkeyes’ first drive — a nine-play, 65-yarder that lasted 3:59 and finished with a 4-yard touchdown run by Mekhi Sargent — was so clinical, so balanced and, frankly, so easy that it set the tone for the day. Iowa pushed around the undersized Blue Raiders from the opening whistle in joining its 2009 and 2015 teams with 4-0 starts.

Middle Tennessee: This was likely the most overmatched the Blue Raiders will be all year. But they’ve got enough to compete for another bowl bid with Conference USA play starting next week.

UP NEXT

Iowa plays at Michigan next Saturday. The 20th-ranked Wolverines pummeled Rutgers 52-0 on Saturday.

Middle Tennessee hosts Marshall on Oct. 5.

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