There must be something about Rocky Lombardi that brings out the best in Riley Moss.
Whatever it is, Moss just seems to have Lombardi’s number.
On Saturday, the former Ankeny Centennial defensive back intercepted a pass from Lombardi in the second quarter and returned it 54 yards for a touchdown to give Iowa a 35-0 lead over Michigan State at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes went on to post a 49-7 victory.
It marked the second time in his football career that Moss picked off a pass from Lombardi, his former rival in the Central Iowa Metropolitan League. The first one came during high school, when Moss’ interception late in the fourth quarter sealed the Jaguars’ 14-10 triumph at Valley in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs in 2016.
Moss’ pick-six on Saturday was Iowa’s first interception return for a touchdown since the 2019 Holiday Bowl (Nick Niemann). Iowa has at least one pick-six in 13 consecutive seasons, and at least one interception returned for a touchdown in 18 of the last 20 seasons.
Moss’ big play came just 27 seconds after Charlie Jones returned a punt 54 yards to the end zone to make it 28-0. Iowa returned a punt and interception for a touchdown in the same game for the first time since 2014 against Nebraska.
Moss had two tackles in the win. He also broke up a pass.
The Hawkeyes (1-2) will play at Minnesota on Friday at 6 p.m.