Stanley, Sargent lead No. 20 Iowa past Miami (Ohio) | News Coverage from USA

Stanley, Sargent lead No. 20 Iowa past Miami (Ohio)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Nate Stanley threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, Mekhi Sargent ran for 91 yards and a score, and No. 20 Iowa beat Miami (Ohio) 38-14 in their season opener on Saturday night.

The Hawkeyes got off to a slow start, but that was erased by the consistent ground game and some big plays from Stanley, who finished 21 of 30 in Iowa’s sixth straight season-opening win.

“(Sargent) is more decisive (and) you can see he’s a lot more confident out there,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “From the sideline (the run game) looked pretty good. It looked more like what we’re shooting for. I thought all the backs that were in there ran decisively.”

Iowa opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal by Keith Duncan, but trailed in the second quarter after RedHawks quarterback Brett Gabbert — brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert — picked apart the Iowa secondary on a 77-yard scoring drive. Gabbert finished 17 of 27 for 186 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

The Hawkeyes used a combination of Sargent and Toren Young on the ground and Stanley finding 10 different receivers to counter and slowly pull away. Sargent had 14 carries and Young finished with nine for 48 yards and one touchdown.

“At halftime, we had Iowa’s attention,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “Those two drives in the third quarter, we didn’t make them earn it. Did they wear us down? Yes. But a lot of that was mental, too.”

Two moments stood out in particular for Iowa, for different reasons. Starting left tackle Alaric Jackson left the game in the first quarter with an apparent right knee injury. Conversely, Michigan transfer Oliver Martin caught his first pass with the Hawkeyes, a nine-yard touchdown from Stanley. He finished with two catches for 14 yards and the score.

Ferentz said he there wasn’t yet a diagnosis on the extent of Jackson’s injury.

“Nothing new right now, but we’ll probably know more when we get together on Tuesday,” Ferentz said. “He was in the locker room and he was fine. We don’t know the extent of it, so no sense having a mourning right now or worrying about it. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa: The Hawkeyes’ performance may have been uneven — and the uncertain health status of starting left tackle Alaric Jackson looms — Ferentz’s crew eventually did what was expected as the game wore on. The rushing attack was consistent, and Martin’s splash onto the scene was the highlight.

Miami: Despite how the game got away from the RedHawks, Gabbert had multiple shining moments. It remains to be seen if Miami’s quarterback competition is finished, but Gabbert helped himself, especially with the touch he displayed on his touchdown passes.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Iowa may not have wowed anyone Saturday night, but the season-opening victory should keep the Hawkeyes comfortably in the top 25.

UP NEXT

Iowa stays home next week, opening Big Ten play by hosting Rutgers on Saturday.

Miami (OH) returns hosts Tennessee Tech on Saturday.

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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