Nate Stanley threw for 197 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Iowa overwhelmed North Texas 31-14 on Saturday to finish the nonconference season unbeaten.
Freshman Ivory Kelly-Martin added 74 yards rushing and two TDs for the Hawkeyes (3-0), who played most of the second half without running backs Akrum Wadley and James Butler.
Iowa pulled ahead 17-14 on a 23-yard TD pass from Stanley to Noah Fant — on fourth down and 5 — late in the third quarter. Kelly-Martin added a 2-yard touchdown, the first of his career, with 8:16 left to cap a drive that covered 87 yards and burned nearly nine minutes.
Kelly-Martin also scored a 6-yard TD run with 1:47 to go.
But the Hawkeyes will be left to hope that Wadley (right leg) and Butler (right elbow) won’t miss extended time. Wadley and Butler, a Nevada transfer, entered 2017 as the only duo in the country to each rush for over 1,000 yards last season.
Mason Fine threw for 167 yards for North Texas (1-2), which dropped its second straight. Iowa’s defense held the Mean Green to just 93 yards and zero points in the second half.
“It was more an attitude thing,” said Iowa end Parker Hesse about Iowa’s improvement in the second half. “We made the plays when it counted.”
IOWA: Though the final score wasn’t close, this wasn’t how the Hawkeyes wanted to look with No. 5 Penn State coming to town next week. A fumble and a premature celebration by Wadley cost Iowa a pair of touchdowns, and a rash of penalties helped North Texas score and take the lead at halftime. Still, the Hawkeyes defense pitched a shutout in the second half and their running game showed promise even without Wadley or Butler.
NORTH TEXAS: After getting embarrassed by instate rival SMU, the Mean Green responded by scaring Iowa for about 50 minutes. Fine proved to be a handful at times for Iowa’s defense, as was Jeffrey Wilson on a 41-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. If North Texas can play like this in Conference USA, a bowl trip isn’t out of the question.
Iowa hosts Penn State on Sept. 23.
North Texas hosts Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday.
NTX—Wilson 41 run (T.Moore kick), 5:34
IOW—Hockenson 8 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), :52
IOW—FG Recinos 42, 5:23
NTX—Guyton 13 pass from Shanbour (T.Moore kick), :11
IOW—Fant 23 pass from Stanley (Recinos kick), 4:24
IOW—Kelly-Martin 2 run (Recinos kick), 8:16
IOW—Kelly-Martin 6 run (Recinos kick), 1:47
Time of Possession
RUSHING—North Texas, Wilson 12-95, Shanbour 1-12, N.Smith 1-7, Murray 0-0, Fine 3-(minus 2). Iowa, T.Young 19-79, Kelly-Martin 11-74, Butler 16-74, Wadley 8-24, Smith-Marsette 1-0, Stanley 2-(minus 5), (Team) 2-(minus 7).
PASSING—North Texas, Shanbour 2-2-0-26, Fine 16-26-1-167, (Team) 0-1-0-0. Iowa, Stanley 16-27-0-197.
RECEIVING—North Texas, Smiley 4-74, Wilson 4-17, Darden 3-30, Lawrence 2-19, K.Smith 1-14, Guyton 1-13, N.Smith 1-10, Q.Jackson 1-9, Bussey 1-7. Iowa, Easley 5-37, Hockenson 3-29, VandeBerg 3-19, Wadley 2-80, Fant 2-30, B.Smith 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—North Texas, T.Moore 40.