IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Western Michigan put forth encouraging efforts in losses to Big Ten opponents Michigan State and Northwestern.
The Broncos never had a chance against Iowa.
Kevonte Martin-Manley returned back-to-back punts for touchdowns; B.J. Lowery returned a pair of interceptions for TDs and Iowa rolled past Western Michigan 59-3 on Saturday.
Martin-Manley scored on returns of 83 and 63 yards early in the second quarter as Iowa jumped out to a 38-3 halftime lead.
Lowery took back picks for 35 and 13-yard TDs for Iowa, which scored its most points since it had 62 against Northwestern in 2002.
Tyler Van Tubbergen had 114 yards passing for the Broncos (0-4), which had four turnovers and was 1 of 14 of third downs.
"You know you didn't play well when the opposing head coach, who I admire, just looks at you and goes 'Just one of those games,'" Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck said after speaking with Iowa's Kirk Ferentz after the game.
Just about everything that could go wrong did for Western Michigan.
Martin-Manley beat roughly a half-dozen Broncos up the left sideline to put Iowa ahead 17-0. Western Michigan punter J. Schroeder then drilled a low liner to Martin-Manley, who caught it near the left hash marks, hit stride just after midfield and sprinted 63 yards into the end zone just 59 seconds later.
Martin Manley was just the third player in Big Ten history with two punt returns for TDs in the same game and the first in 30 years.
"We were getting out-athleted at times when we were covering. We couldn't get off our blocks," Fleck said. "A rugby kick is supposed to bounce a few times before it actually gets to the returner and it didn't. And that's what happens when he can catch that thing on the fly."
Lowery made a spectacular one-handed interception to help preserve last week's win over Iowa State.
That pick was nothing compared to his performance against the Broncos.
Lowery intercepted Van Tubbergen in traffic and raced 35 yards for a touchdown to close out the first half — Iowa's best since it scored 49 in a 56-0 win over Ball State in 2005.
That was enough for Fleck to bench Van Tubbergen in favor of Zach Terrell to start the second half.
But Terrell's first pass was a perfect throw to the chest of Lowery, who happily took it 13 yards for a touchdown.
Playing without injured freshman wide receiver Corey Davis, who left in the first quarter with an upper body injury, the Broncos had just 209 yards of offense.
Terrell was 2 of 6 passing for 21 yards.
"We're not good enough to make a ton of mistakes," Fleck said.
Western Michigan's stretch of three Big Ten opponents in four games is mercifully over. It opens up Mid-American Conference play on Saturday when it hosts Kent State.
"You don't overlook any team. Every game is going to be close. But this one happened to be a big one," Iowa running back Mark Weisman said.
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