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Iowa Hawkeyes running back Akrum Wadley (25) runs and avoids a tackle from Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Brian Peavy (10) during the first quarter of their game at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, September 9, 2017.

Andy Abeyta, QUAD-CITY TIMES

Five thoughts about the Iowa football team's performance in the Hawkeyes' 44-41 overtime win at Iowa State, and looking toward next Saturday's 2:30 p.m. home game with North Texas:

1. The good

It's a lot easier to learn in a winning environment and the Hawkeyes positioned themselves to work in that scenario with their resilient effort against the Cyclones.

Against an Iowa State defense that is admittedly a work in progress, the Hawkeyes took steps forward in Saturday's first road test of the season.

The lessons start with perseverance, a necessary trait for dealing with the challenges that await in the Big Ten. With a lot of new pieces in places, there is going to be inconsistency in Iowa's play this season, particularly early in the year.

At times, that will create frustration.

At other moments, it will demonstrate potential.

To watch Nate Stanley work behind center and display the kind of poise he displayed for a sophomore quarterback was impressive.

He connected with nine receivers on Saturday, six more than he hit in Iowa's opener and illustrative of both the growth and potential the Hawkeyes have in the passing game. Iowa averaged 8.1 yards per attempt and 12.3 yards per completion against ISU, both improvements over the opening week.

Iowa's backs, led by the slick moves of Akrum Wadley on the both carries and catches, averaged an even four yards on 41 rushes against ISU. The run game dealt with its issues -- collecting 15 yards in the third quarter for example -- but it continues to be the foundation for Iowa's success.

2. The good and getting better

Brian Ferentz called a terrific game Saturday, blending the run and pass effectively from start to finish.

Looking for balance? The Hawkeyes ran 82 plays against the Cyclones, passing 41 times and rushing 41 times.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley is thriving in short passing game and while the connections appear to still be developing, it was good to see the offense taking some deep shots on occasion. Eventually, today's overthrows will become tomorrow's completions because of the experience gained.

Tight end Noah Fant and Wadley, who lined up in the slot for the first time with James Butler at running back, are experienced commodities. Nick Easley has proven to be an effective option for Stanley. Saturday, Ihmir Smith-Marsette at receiver, T.J. Hockenson at tight end and Drake Kulick at fullback proved to be additional pieces that will becoming increasingly important options in the Iowa passing game.

Against Iowa State, that potential started to turn into reality.

3. The not so good

Josey Jewell welcomed the victory following Saturday's game, calling it a team win but quickly adding that it certainly wasn't a defensive victory.

Iowa's follow-up to a dominant first-game effort against Wyoming was a little on the sloppy side against an Iowa State team that has a terrific collection of skill players.

The chance to compete against a physical, yet versatile pass-catching running back like David Montgomery as he piled up 165 yards or to attempt to deal with the 6-foot-5 and 6-6 size of Allen Lazard and Hakeem Butler as they combined for 11 catches for 151 yards and four scores is valuable experience.

Still, the Hawkeyes allowed Iowa State to pile up 467 total yards of offense and average 6.5 yards every time the Cyclones snapped the ball. ISU averaged 4.6 yards per carry and and 13.9 yards per reception, numbers that won't translate to success if sustained by opponents into the future.

4. The eye on the future

Iowa's next opponent, North Texas, showed a potent offense and a defense that couldn't get off the field in a 54-32 loss to SMU on Saturday.

Mean Green sophomore quarterback Mason Fine was a member of the all-freshman team in Conference USA a year ago and he will arrive at Kinnick Stadium after throwing for a career-high 424 yards in the loss to the Mustangs.

Defense was the biggest issue for second-year coach Seth Littrell's team against SMU, which piled up 169 yards on third-down plays in the first half against the North Texas defense.

For the game, the Mustangs converted on 9-of-18 third-down plays including six times in eight opportunities from an average of nine yards out during the opening two quarters.

5. The ugly

Four turnovers in the season-opening win over Wyoming left Iowa with plenty to work last week.

Similarly, penalties were a problem for the Hawkeyes in the win at Iowa State.

Iowa was flagged for 10 penalties totaling 84 yards against the Cyclones, the most penalties the Hawkeyes have had in a game since having 12 in a 49-35 win at Purdue midway through the 2016 season.

There was a whole lot of grabbing and holding going on, giving the Hawkeyes plenty to work toward reducing this week.

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