IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Hawkeyes didn’t let Steele Jantz beat them like he did a year ago.
This time, it was the Cyclones’ defense that took down the rival Hawkeyes.
Steele Jantz threw for 241 yards and the game’s only touchdown on Saturday and Iowa State beat Iowa 9-6 for its first win in Iowa City in 10 years.
Jake Knott’s interception with 1:11 left sealed the win for the Cyclones (2-0), whose defense held Iowa to just 304 yards of offense.
Iowa State was held scoreless in the second half. But the Hawkeyes (1-1) could only muster a pair of short field goals in the lowest-scoring matchup between these in-state rivals in 24 years.
James Vandenberg was 20 of 42 passing for 236 yards and two interceptions for Iowa.
But after looking terrible all day, Iowa’s offense sprung to life in the final two minutes.
Fittingly, the game turned on its final mistake.
Vandenberg drove Iowa from its own 11 to Iowa State’s 32-yard line after throwing three straight incompletions. But he floated one over the middle and Knott tipped the ball and brought it in to give the Cyclones their first win in Iowa City since they beat the Hawkeyes 36-31 in 2002.
Vandenberg, who threw 25 TD passes in 2011, has none through two games this season. Iowa’s only points came on field goals of 23 and 21 yards from Mike Meyer.
Iowa State looked as though it was set to put away one of the ugliest games in this rivalry’s history late in the fourth quarter.
It would only get uglier from there.
Jantz drove the Cyclones to Iowa’s 2-yard line by converting on a pair of key third downs. But on third-and-goal with 3:23 left and Iowa State leading 9-6, Jantz threw an interception to Hawkeyes linebacker James Morris, who returned it to midfield.
Not surprisingly, Iowa did nothing with the pick.
Vandenberg misfired on four straight passes, the last incompletion coming when Don Shumpert dropped a pass that if completed would have been good for a first down.
Iowa’s receivers dropped plenty of passes, and Iowa State made a lot of mistakes as well. It’s just that the Hawkeyes couldn’t do much with those Cyclones’ miscues.
Jantz and James White muffed a handoff and Morris recovered at the Iowa State 21 midway through the third quarter. Vandenberg then connected with massive 6-foot-7 tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz on a pair of key completions to help get Iowa deep inside Cyclones territory.
But Keenan Davis was ruled out of bounds at the 3-yard line on what appeared to be a touchdown. Fullback Mark Weisman then dropped a potential TD catch, and Iowa’s Mike Meyer hit a 21-yard field goal to cut Iowa State’s lead to 9-6 with 14:06 left.
Jantz had four touchdowns in last season’s 44-41 triple-OT win over Iowa in Ames. He threw two interceptions on Saturday, but his defense picked up time and time again.
The win evened Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads’ overall record at 20-20.
Iowa State dominated the first half against an Iowa team that had outscored the Cyclones 52-12 in their last two appearances in Kinnick Stadium.
But the Cyclones could only muster a 9-3 lead at the break.
It felt like it should have been much bigger than that.
Jantz completed his first 10 passes, including a 5-yard TD pass to Aaron Horne on the game’s opening drive and a 40-yarder to Horne to put the Cyclones at Iowa’s 9-yard line. But Ernst Brun dropped a would-be TD pass and Iowa State was forced to settle for Edwin Arceo’s 22-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
Still, that lead would prove to be big enough to stand against Iowa’s woeful offense.
Through two games, the Hawkeyes have mustered just one touchdown and six Meyer field goals.