IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) -- Nathan Chandler threw three touchdown
passes and Iowa (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) frustrated Arizona State (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) with
outstanding defense in a 21-2 victory Saturday night.
Arizona State's Derek Hagan is greeted rudely by Iowa's Chad Greenway, left, and Abdul Hodge.
Fred Russell added 154 yards rushing in 27 carries for the
Hawkeyes (4-0), off to their best start since 1997. Arizona State
(2-1) couldn't capitalize on the momentum from an early safety and
struggled against an Iowa defense that was able to pressure
quarterback Andrew Walter with a four-man rush.
Arizona State, which had been averaging 404.5 yards and 30
points a game, was held to 24 yards rushing and 184 total yards.
Chandler floundered early and his fumble led to the safety. But
he came through with touchdown passes of 40 yards to Ramon Ochoa
and 2 yards to Erik Jensen in the second quarter and hit Ochoa on a
3-yard scoring play in the third quarter.
The way Iowa's defense was playing, that was more than enough.
Walter, who had thrown six touchdown passes in the first two games,
rarely had time to look downfield and his longest gain was 16
yards. He finished 25-of-44 for 160 yards and one interception.
After Walter's 16-yard pass to fullback Mike Karney on the first
play of the second quarter, Arizona State did not make another
first down until the 5:58 mark in the third quarter -- and that was
on a roughing the passer penalty.
The touchdown catches were the first of his career for Ochoa, a
senior who had played little before this season. He became
Chandler's primary target in the absence of leading receiver
Maurice Brown, sidelined by an ankle injury. Ochoa finished with
four receptions for 64 yards.
Chandler was 15-of-23 for 154 yards.
The Hawkeyes lost another starting receiver when Ed Hinkel was
injured on a second-quarter punt return. The school did not
immediately reveal the nature of his injury.
Iowa's average starting position on its first five possessions
was its own 16 and coach Kirk Ferentz played it conservatively.
Once the Hawkeyes got a little better field position, they opened
Taking over at its own 37 midway through the second quarter,
Iowa needed only three plays to score. On first down at the Arizona
State 40, Ochoa spun cornerback Mike Davis around with a fake to
the outside, cut inside and was in full stride when he caught
Chandler's pass in the end zone.
After the Iowa defense forced a three-and-out, Hinkel's 14-yard
punt return gave the Hawkeyes the ball at the ASU 41. Chandler
completed passes of 23 yards to Calvin Davis and 13 yards to Ochoa
before hitting Jensen for the touchdown and a 14-2 lead.
Russell's 38-yard run to the ASU 11 set up Chandler's final TD
pass to Ochoa.
Iowa's early struggles included a bad snap to Chandler in
shotgun formation at the Iowa 22. Blitzing safety Riccardo Stewart
clobbered Chandler after he got control of the ball and it squirted
toward the end zone. Arizona State's Brett Hudson had a chance at
the bouncing ball but couldn't pick it up and Iowa center Brian
Ferentz fell on it in the end zone for a safety.
Arizona State had a great opportunity a few minutes later when
Jason Shivers' interception put the Sun Devils at the Iowa 21. But
Walter forced a pass into a crowded end zone and Iowa's Jovon
Johnson picked it off.