Five things to think about over the next few days following the Iowa football team's 17-10 win over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night:
1. The good
Iowa has some terrific skill at the often thankless cornerback position.
While Desmond King and Greg Mabin from a year ago are now cutting their NFL teeth on the West Coast - King with the Chargers and Mabin with the 49ers - Josh Jackson is creating his own legacy at the left cornerback position King ruled for the past four seasons while Manny Rugamba and Michael Ojemudia are doing their thing on the right side.
Jackson simply dominated from his spot against the Golden Gophers, breaking up four passes, including one which resulted in a Jake Gervase interception, and recording three tackles in addition to generally being a pain in Minnesota's plans throughout Iowa's third straight win in the series.
"I'm not sure why people keep throwing at him,'' Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell said. "But, I'm glad they do.''
Jackson leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in pass break ups and total passes defended.
He said he is simply trying to be a leader and bring stability to a secondary which has underwent in-season lineup changes at each of its other three positions.
"It starts in practice every day. I come out and try to work hard and study the opponent hard,'' Jackson said. "When it comes to games, you see the formations and know they're going to do out of them.''
2. The relatively good
Jackson's actions were part of another reasonably sound effort by an Iowa defense which quietly is getting its job done.
The Hawkeyes have held six straight opponents to 20 or fewer points. That's going to win a lot of games under normal circumstances. This isn't a normal Iowa offense, so the Hawkeyes will take a 3-3 record in those games and move forward.
Iowa limited a Minnesota offense which had been averaging 4.2 yards per carry to 3.3 yards per attempt on Saturday. That's significant, playing into why the Gophers were forced to punt the ball away nine times while being limited to 10 points and a season-low 281 yards of offense.
The Hawkeyes sacked quarterback Demry Croft four times, recorded seven tackles for a loss and benefited from a goal-line interception by Jake Gervase.
3. The it's good to have you back
The return of James Butler to field didn't necessarily yield a ton of yardage Saturday - the Hawkeyes collected just 125 yards on the ground - but his presence did and will continue to help the Iowa offense.
Butler provides a heftier third-down option in short-yardage situations and provides coaches with a chance to keep workhorse Akrum Wadley fresher deeper into the game.
That will likely pay dividends during the final third of the regular season for a 5-3 team which faces top-five opponents the next two weeks.
Butler's availability allowed Iowa to spread the carries around. Wadley finished with 16 and Butler rushed 11 times and each caught a pass against Minnesota.
One of Iowa's two turnovers in the game came on a Butler fumble the graduate transfer said did not involve the arm he now wears a brace on to protect the elbow he dislocated during a Sept. 16 game against North Texas.
4. The bad
Iowa's offense remained a work in progress against Minnesota.
It had its moments - Nate Stanley's 45-yard touchdown pass to Noah Fant and a game-opening drive that resulted in a 12-yard score by Akrum Wadley for example - but it also continued to endure its share of growing pains.
The Hawkeyes finished with 315 total yards, three more yards than Iowa gained in its 17-10 overtime loss at Northwestern a week earlier and were forced to punt the ball on nine occasions.
Of the yards Iowa collected, 125 came on the ground.
Stanley connected on 15-of-27 attempts for 190 yards and one score in addition to throwing an interception.
Saturday proved to be the fifth-most productive day Iowa has had rushing the football this season and Iowa's average of 3.8 yards per carry was better than average. The Hawkeyes entered the game averaging 3.5 yards per attempt so Iowa did take a small step forward toward its objective of rushing the ball more effectively.
Much like the sporadic performance of the offense, Iowa's punting game continued to endure some wind-aided ups and downs. Ryan Gersonde punted five times and while the true freshman did hit a 50 yarder, he also delivered a 25-yard punt and was unable to place any of his punts inside the 20-yard line. Colten Rastetter punted four times and did drop a pair inside the 20 while averaging 40.8 yards. Gersonde averaged 35.2 yards.
5. The ugly
Brian Ferentz brings a great level of passion and intensity to his job as the first-year offensive coordinator of the Iowa football team.
The Hawkeyes need that fire - perhaps as much as ever this week as they work toward Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game against Ohio State - but Ferentz overstepped the line as he made his way from the Iowa coaches' booth to the elevator on the fourth level of the press box at halftime Saturday night.
Irritated that a video review had overturned a call on the field and led to James Butler losing the ball on a fumble, Ferentz unleashed an obscenity-filled rant over his 30-yard dash through the hallway.
Between f-bombs and a Whitman's sampler of other profanities all served up during a high-volume tirade, it was clear that the wrath was directed at the replay official located on the same level about a play late in the second quarter Ferentz felt shouldn't have been reviewed.
Ironically, the Iowa coaches' box at Kinnick is in the room next to where the Big Ten replay official does his work. A large sign on the door indicates that the replay official's area is off limits to others.
Ferentz respected that, but crossed the line with the volume and tenor of his argument which was on display in front of hundreds of people on that level of the press box.
Made aware of what had transpired following the game, coach Kirk Ferentz addressed the situation before a question could be asked about it following the game.
"I just learned about some inappropriate behavior up in the press box with one of our coaches. I don't know all the details at this given point, but what I heard is just not acceptable. We're just not going down that road,'' the Hawkeyes' 19th-year coach said.
"There's a certain level of professionalism that you have to be operating with and we'll plan on doing that in the future. In the meantime, we'll sit down, address this and find out what the details are. I'm a little sketchy in terms of what all took place, but the bottom line is there's no room for that. That will be addressed and then we'll move on.''
The lessons from Saturday's game need to extend beyond those learned on the confines of the field.