Iowa opens with messy victory over Miami (Ohio)

Luke Meredith
Associated Press

Iowa City, Iowa — No. 17 Iowa’s backfield tandem of Akrum Wadley and LeShun Daniels looked spectacular in its opener.

The same couldn’t be said for the Hawkeyes defense, which looked lost at times against a Mid-American Conference opponent that won just three games last season.

Wadley ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns, Daniels added 83 yards rushing and two scores, and Iowa beat Miami (Ohio) 45-21 on Saturday.

The speedy Wadley and the more powerful Daniels did their damage on just 22 carries, a promising sign for a program that prefers to set the tone offensively on the ground.

“With LeShun splitting the carries and that line we’re running behind, it makes it so much easier. You could probably run through that, with the line we’ve got,” Wadley said, joking with a reporter.

Senior C.J. Beathard was 13 of 20 passing for 192 yards and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes (1-0), whose sloppy defensive play in the second half let Miami hang around.

Daniels and Wadley each scored twice in the first half, and Jerminic Smith’s 12-yard TD reception put the Hawkeyes ahead 35-7 early in the third quarter.

The RedHawks (0-1) had touchdown drives of 75 and 74 yards with the game seemingly in hand before Derrick Mitchell Jr.’s touchdown run with 3:08 left put Iowa ahead by 24.

“Our run defense was not what it needs to be (Saturday),” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said (Miami ran for 158 yards). “When people can move the ball on the ground, it can be a little bit demoralizing.”

Billy Bahl threw for 266 yards and two TDs for Miami, which outgained Iowa 424-404.