IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - James Vandenberg threw for 219 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Marvin McNutt and Iowa opened its season by pounding Tennessee Tech 34-7 Saturday in the schools' season opener.
McNutt had 140 yards receiving for the Hawkeyes, who won their 11th straight home opener despite an 84-minute delay because of lightning.
Iowa overwhelmed the Golden Eagles of the FCS with 24 points in the second quarter. McNutt took a Vandenberg pass 88 yards for a touchdown, and Shaun Prater returned an interception 89 yards for a TD late in the first half to put the Hawkeyes ahead 27-0.
Vandenberg's 19-yard TD pass to McNutt gave Iowa a 34-0 lead with 6:19 left in the third quarter. The game was delayed shortly thereafter and the stadium was cleared.
Dontey Gay rushed for 108 yards for Tennessee Tech, including a 1-yard TD run with 5:02 left.
The game kicked off in a driving rain, which led to three first-quarter fumbles.
The clouds parted to start the second, allowing the Hawkeyes to impose their will on the overmatched Golden Eagles.
Wide receiver Keenan Davis, who the Hawkeyes are counting on to take pressure off of McNutt, leapt over Tennessee Tech's Richmond Tooley, tipped the ball and caught it at the 1-yard line. Vandenberg's plunge put Iowa up 10-0 early in the second quarter.
Vandenberg then floated a pass to McNutt in coverage, and McNutt sprinted past the Golden Eagles' secondary for the sixth-longest TD reception in school history, making it 17-0 just over three minutes later.
Tech quarterback Tre Lamb, whose interception to Iowa linebacker James Morris set up a 20-yard field goal from Mike Meyer, tried to force the ball to the sidelines late in the first half. Prater, an All-Big Ten pick in 2010, was waiting for it, and he saw little resistance on an 89-yard TD return that gave the Hawkeyes a 27-0 lead with 10 seconds left in the second quarter.
Lamb finished 14-of-24 passing for 128 yards and those two costly picks.
Vandenberg, a junior in his first start since taking over for Ricky Stanzi, was 13-of-21 passing, including a few drops from his receivers. Mike Meyer added field goals of 39 and 20 yards for the Hawkeyes.
The rain returned right around the time Vandenberg and McNutt hooked up for their second touchdown. It brought some hail and the threat of lightning with it, and Kinnick Stadium was cleared as officials and players waited out the weather.
About the only hiccup for Iowa besides the conditions came from its running backs - a source of considerable consternation for the Hawkeyes of late.
Coker, last seen ripping apart Missouri's defense for 219 yards and two TDs in the Insight Bowl, fumbled the ball away on Iowa's opening possession. He put it on the ground again in the first quarter and was subbed out for freshman Mika'il McCall - whose debut was impressive but brief.
McCall, the son of former heavyweight boxing champion Oliver McCall, rushed for a team-high 61 yards on nine carries before hurting his right leg late in the first quarter.
Coker finished with 41 yards on 11 carries.
The Hawkeyes are coming off one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. Picked by many to contend for the Big Ten title in 2010, Iowa stumbled to an 8-5 finish and just 4-4 in league play.
The Hawkeyes have just 10 starters back on offense and defense. But that didn't matter against the Golden Eagles, who simply couldn't match up with them.
Iowa's first true test comes next Saturday at rival Iowa State.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved