Iowa's Josey Jewell tackles Wyoming's Avante Cox during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Defense leads the way in Iowa win

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By Courtney Baumann

courtney-baumann@uiowa.edu

Phil Parker wasn’t lying when he said Iowa’s defense is good.

The Hawkeyes mostly silenced prospective No. 1 NFL Draft pick Josh Allen in a 24-3 victory over Wyoming in Kinnick on Sept. 2.

Wyoming, which had averaged 436.1 total yards per game in 2016, could only claw out 233 against a powerful Iowa defense.

Allen threw for 174 yards with zero touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and the Hawkeyes nearly picked off a few other passes.

“They’re a really good defense and a good program, and this is what we expected of them,” Allen said after the game. “They played the quick game really well. I think their plan was to take away the quick game, and they knew their safeties would be able to make some plays over the top.”

RELATED: Iowa wins first game of season, tops Wyoming, 24-3

That’s exactly what the Hawkeyes did.

With only 59 yards allowed on the ground, Allen was forced to throw the ball downfield, and that got him into trouble more than once.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the defense on the afternoon was its ability to make up for the turnovers the Hawkeye offense committed.

Iowa turned the ball over four times — quarterback Nate Stanley threw 1 interception and fumbled twice, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette fumbled on his only touch of the game.

Even so, Allen and the Cowboys could not put the ball in the end zone.

Stanley, who got his first start at quarterback for the Hawkeyes, was grateful that the defense bailed him out.

“My teammates did a great job at picking me up. They had my back the whole game,” he said. “The defense did a great job stopping them on short fields … I’m just really thankful for my teammates.”

Josh Jackson had Iowa’s first interception of the season and the first of his career early in the fourth quarter to shift momentum when Wyoming seemed to be picking it up.

The defensive back picked off Allen at Iowa’s 20-yard line and ran it back 41 yards to put the Hawkeyes in great position to score again.

Brady Reiff also had his first interception of his career late in the fourth quarter to kill Wyoming’s last drive. The Hawkeyes ran the clock out to seal their first win of the season.

And while some NFL scouts may have attended Kinnick to watch the start of Allen’s junior campaign, Iowa senior Josey Jewell more than likely caught their attention.

RELATED: A rough-cut Jewell

The team captain had 14 tackles, including 7 unassisted, 2 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for a loss.

The rest of the linebacker corps had an exceptional game as well — Ben Niemann added 13 tackles, and Bo Bower had 11.

Jewell credited the defensive line for the group’s success. Had it not been for them, the linebackers would not have been able to get out in space as often as they did against Wyoming.

“They’re filling gaps inside, and they’re allowing us to free up and run outside,” Jewell said. “I’m not having to worry about second-guessing and coming back inside or anything like that. It’s a really big game for the D-line to be able to do that for us and to free us up.”

Click below for more photos
Fans in the student section cheer while players prepare to swarm the field during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley yells coverage to teammates during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa wide receiver Nick Easley lands inbounds with a catch during a football game between Iowa and Wyoming at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Wyoming Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley avoids a tackle from Wyoming strong safety Andrew Wingard during the season opener at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa kicks a PAT during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa fans watch from the North end zone stands during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa fans watch from the North end zone stands during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz looks the field during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Wyoming linebacker Jalen Ortiz heads to the sideline during the season opener on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa celebrates after making a play during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Wyoming punter Tim Zaleski misses a punt during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
An Iowa fan reacts to a call during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Wyoming kicker Cooper Rothe practices on the sideline during the season opener on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa wide receiver Noah Fant runs into the endzone for a touchdown during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
The Iowa Marching Band performs during halftime at the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa wide receiver Nick Easley catches a touchdown pass during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Wyoming defensive end Kolton Donovan gets checked out by a medical trainer during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
 
Iowa fans celebrate on third down during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa's Golden Girl pefroms during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa's Josey Jewell tackles Wyoming's Avante Cox during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell tackles Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Wyoming players attempt to block a field goal during the season opener on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa defensive end Parker Hesse attempts to block Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen's pass during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen takes his helmet off on the sideline after throwing an interception during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
A fan in the student section checks out his tan lines during an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley dives over the Wyoming defense during the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa players return to the locker rooms after the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
Iowa quarter back Nathan Stanley interviews after the season opener against Wyoming on Saturday, Sep. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes went on to defeat the Cowboys, 24-3. (Ben Smith/The Daily Iowan)
A Wyoming cheerleader smiles for a photo after an NCAA football game between Iowa and Wyoming in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated Wyoming, 24-3. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

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