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IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Marvin McNutt showed up at Iowa four years ago as a player who threw the football. The former quarterback will leave as possibly the school's most productive player catching the ball.
McNutt caught three touchdown passes Saturday to become Iowa's career leader in helping the Hawkeyes beat Indiana 45-24. After teaming with James Vandenberg on scoring plays of 80, 24 and 29 yards, the rangy 6-foot-4 senior also is within reach of the school record for receiving yards.
"If you think about it, he made that move (to wide receiver) in '08 unselfishly," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "He's really worked hard. You don't set records by accident. It's a real tribute to his work ethic."
Watch Scott Saville's postgame interview on the field with McNutt:
McNutt finished with six receptions for a career-high 184 yards and now has 24 touchdown catches in his career. He had been tied for the lead with Tim Dwight and Danan Hughes at 21.
Indiana played McNutt man-to-man and with Vandenberg on target, it was no contest. Vandenberg went 12 of 16 for 253 yards and a career-best four touchdowns, including a 1-yarder to Brad Herman for a late score.
"You've got good matchups and you've got protection and Vandenberg threw great balls, so it looks good when you've got 11 guys doing all what they need to do," McNutt said. "We executed and that's what it came down to."
McNutt also has passed Dwight and Hughes in career receiving yards, running his total to 2,303. He trails the school's leader, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, by 313 yards and with five regular-season games remaining plus a likely bowl game, that mark also is within reach.
"It's a great honor and a great privilege to be at the top of that (touchdown) list, because the guys that I had to beat for it were some great Hawkeyes," McNutt said. "They'll always be part of Iowa history."
Marcus Coker rushed for 139 yards and touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards for Iowa (5-2, 2-1 Big Ten), which followed up on its 41-31 victory over Northwestern a week ago with another big offensive outing. The Hawkeyes amassed 456 yards with good balance, converted on 6 of 8 third-down plays and did not have a turnover.
Indiana (1-7, 0-4) lost for the fifth straight time and now has been outscored 161-61 in Big Ten play.
"We were able to have some successful runs early," Vandenberg said, "and that makes them maybe try to heat it up a little more and bring their safeties lower and then we were able to hit some big passes."
McNutt set his record on his first reception of the day.
He was left all alone in the right flat when two defenders collided late in the first quarter and Vandenberg found him. McNutt then sprinted untouched down the sideline to complete the 80-yard play, which gave Iowa a 14-7 lead.
Indiana showed some spark early behind Tre Roberson, who became the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Hoosiers. Roberson threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cody Latimer and directed a 73-yard drive that Stephen Houston capped with a 1-yard TD run that tied the score at 14 early in the second quarter.
But the Hoosiers' last-in-the-conference defense couldn't hold up against the swift, sure-handed McNutt and the pounding of the 230-pound Coker, and the Hawkeyes scored 21 unanswered points to take control with a 35-14 halftime lead.
"We didn't tackle well, didn't make stops," said Indiana's first-year coach Kevin Wilson. "I don't think we made a defensive stop until the fourth quarter. So they worked us well."
Coker's 41-yard burst, his longest run of the year, took the ball to the Indiana 24 and on the next play, the Hoosiers' Michael Hunter broke up a pass to McNutt in the end zone on a fade route. McNutt ran the same route on the very next snap and this time, he had a step on Hunter and held on to Vandenberg's pass for the touchdown.
"Vandenberg saw that," McNutt said. "Luckily enough, when I dropped the ball he came right back to me. I was fortunate enough to get the trust that he would come back to me and we made the play that time."
McNutt took the ball away from cornerback Greg Heban on a 30-yard play that set up Coker's 2-yard touchdown run, which made it 28-14, then easily outjumped Heban in the end zone for a 29-yard catch with 16 seconds left in the half.
McNutt's previous career best had been 155 receiving yards against Indiana two years ago. He topped that with his first-half performance of five catches for 174 yards.
Roberson, who had been splitting time with Edward Wright-Baker and Dusty Kiel, acquitted himself well in his most extensive action so far. He completed his first seven passes and finished 16 of 24 for 196 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, and added 82 yards rushing on 15 carries. Indiana played without leading receiver Damarlo Belcher, sidelined by a sprained knee.
Penalties made Roberson's job harder and often put the Hoosiers in poor field position. They were flagged five times for holding in the first half alone, three times on kickoff returns.
"I don't understand all the penalties that we had," Wilson said. "There's been some weeks where we've been real sloppy, some weeks one game where we had one penalty the whole game. It was an offsides call. Today we had a boatload of penalties. We've got to work on that."
One of the holding calls came on Indiana's first extra-point attempt. That followed a false-start penalty, forcing Mitch Ewald to kick his PAT from 35 yards out, a kick that was longer than the 22-yard field goal he booted in the third quarter.
Iowa's Mike Meyer answered with a 47-yard field goal 2 minutes later.