Iowa running back Akrum Wadley runs into the end zone during the Iowa/Iowa State game for the Cy-Hawk trophy in Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones, 44-41, in overtime.(Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Riding the Wadley wave

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Akrum Wadley gave Iowa fans a play for the ages – his elusive, tackle-evading touchdown catch late in the game not only tied the score, but gave Iowa the momentum it needed to take down Iowa State.

By Carter Melrose

Carter-melrose@uiowa.edu

Iowa’s nail-biting victory over Iowa State on Sept. 9 showed the world many things.

The Hawkeyes could be resilient and come back against formidable odds, hence the 44-41 overtime victory.

Numbers-wise, quarterback Nate Stanley’s 5 touchdown passes jump off the stat sheet, but running back Akrum Wadley used the national audience opportunity to demonstrate, once again, that he’s one of the nation’s most electrifying athletes.

Wadley proved this on Iowa’s final drive in regulation.

With fewer than two minutes on the clock and a 7-point deficit, Iowa found itself on the wrong end of a momentum swing — Iowa State scored 21-straight points at one point before the Hawkeyes narrowed the score.

Needing a touchdown to keep Iowa’s hopes of winning alive, Wadley snagged a pass on a crossing route and dashed his way for a 46-yard touchdown.

RELATED: Hawkeyes top Cyclones in overtime classic

“I had a step on the linebacker; they had me breaking outside,” Wadley said. “Stanley dropped it down, and it was murder.”

And murder it was.

Wadley cut to the sidelines and high-stepped out of a shoelace tackle. The senior ran a path that allowed another three defenders to have fair shots in snagging a clutch tackle.

“I had to score,” Wadley said.

A stutter step combined with a down-hill charge to the end zone capped off one of the game’s biggest plays.

The smart football move would have been to take 10 yards and get out of bounds, saving time for the next play, a play that could have resulted in a game-tying score.

Except Wadley didn’t do this.

“I actually had a chance to get out of bounds,” he said. “The sideline was telling me to get out of bounds, but I scored.”

With 192 yards of total offense and 2 touchdowns, Wadley kept things competitive for the Hawkeyes.

Down by 10 in the fourth quarter, offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz could have went away from the running game, but he decided to stick to the team’s strength.  

“It’s not as flashy or dramatic,” offensive lineman Sean Welsh said. “We just focus on doing our jobs.” 

Head coach Kirk Ferentz had high praise for his son, who, he said, “called a heck of a game.”

With Iowa’s win versus Iowa State, the Hawkeyes move to 2-0 on the season.

On Saturday, the Hawkeyes will be back home for a battle with the North Texas Mean Green (1-1). This kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.

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