A steady rain and soggy field turned the 21st Peach Bowl into a game of mistakes. Fortunately for North Carolina State, Iowa made its errors first.
Tyrone Jackson ran for a pair of touchdowns as North Carolina State struck for 3 quick second-period scores to take a 28-3 halftime lead, then held off the Hawkeyes, 28-23, Saturday despite a bowl-record 428-yard passing performance by Iowa quarterback Chuck Hartlieb.
Both teams turned the ball over 7 times. But Iowa committed 5 of its turnovers in the first half, and N.C. State converted 3 of them into touchdowns.
The Wolfpack gave the ball away 4 times in the second half but escaped unscathed, although Hartlieb threw 2 of his 3 TD passes in the final 2 quarters.
“We turned the ball over and tried to give this game away,” said Wolfpack quarterback Shane Montgomery, voted the game’s top offensive player, after completing 7 of 10 passes for 152 yards and converting on 7 consecutive third-down plays in the opening half.
“We tried to give the game away,” Montgomery said. “The defense won it for us.”
“We feel good winning the ball game over a team like that with so many turnovers,” said N.C. State Coach Dick Sheridan. “It was not pretty, but it was enough to win.”
Barely enough, because of Hartlieb, who led a second-half Iowa comeback that came up short.
“Hartlieb played an exceptional game under the circumstances,” Iowa Coach Hayden Fry said. “When you get down, 28-3, and you have to pass on almost every down, your quarterback becomes a sitting duck.”
The Wolfpack (8-3-1) scored 3 touchdowns in the first 4:23 of the second period to break it open.
The Hawkeyes (6-4-3) managed to close within 28-17 on their first drive of the second half on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Hartlieb to Devon Harberts. Hartlieb hit Sean Smith with a 7-yard scoring pass with 8 seconds left for the final margin. A two-point conversion failed.
Hartlieb finished with 30 completions in 51 attempts, but threw 4 interceptions.
N.C. State scored on the first play of the second quarter when Montgomery, used primarily on third-down passing plays, connected with Danny Peebles for a 75-yard touchdown.
Jackson scored from 2 yards out 1:26 later, after a Hawkeye fumble, then ran 30 yards for another score, following another Iowa fumble, for a 28-3 lead.