Cade McNamara threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns in his debut for Iowa as the No. 25 Hawkeyes defeated Utah State 24-14 in the season opener for both teams in Iowa City, Iowa.
McNamara, a transfer from Michigan who was cleared this week to return from a right quad injury, completed 17 of 30 passes with no interceptions.
Kaleb Johnson rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown and set up another score with a game-opening 54-yard kickoff return. Luke Lachey made seven catches for 73 yards for the Hawkeyes, who finished with 284 total yards.
Cooper Legas went 32 of 48 passing for 213 yards with one touchdown and one interception on a frustrating day for Utah State, which hurt itself with 75 penalty yards.
Terrell Vaughn finished with 12 catches for 93 yards and a score for the Aggies, who finished with 329 yards of total offense but had just 30 in the first quarter.
Johnson’s 3-yard touchdown run further padded Iowa’s lead to 24-6 with 10:17 to play.
Legas connected with Vaughn on a 16-yard score with 1:36 left in the game, and the two-point conversion finished the scoring.
After a dismal first quarter, Utah State began to move the ball but twice had to settle for field goals. To start the second half, the Aggies went 47 yards on seven plays, and Elliott Nimrod’s 45-yard field goal cut their deficit to 17-6.
Earlier, with Utah State down 14-0, the Aggies chewed up nearly 11 minutes in going 56 yards on 16 plays, and William Testa’s 32-yard field goal got them on the board with 11:03 left in the second quarter.
In between those scores, the Hawkeyes got a 20-yard field goal from Drew Stevens as the first half ended to extend their lead to 17-3.
Iowa, which managed only 17.7 points a game last season, jumped to the lead right away.
Johnson’s kick return set up the Hawkeyes at the Aggies’ 39-yard line. On the second play from scrimmage, McNamara found Seth Anderson open near the goal line after a defender slipped down, and the 36-yard touchdown gave Iowa a 7-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game.
Iowa then moved 75 yards on its next drive. Facing fourth down on the Aggies’ 3, McNamara hit Erick All on a floating pass with 7:44 left in the first quarter to make it 14-0.
–Field Level Media