IOWA CITY -- A record-setting offensive performance in Saturday's 48-3 rout of Middle Tennessee sends the 14th-ranked Iowa football team to No. 19 Michigan next weekend with a 4-0 record and some serious momentum.
Here are five things to think about as the Hawkeyes begin preparations for their return to Big Ten play:
1. The good
A good week of preparation led to an exceptional level of execution as the Hawkeyes piled up 644 yards against the Blue Raiders, the most productive effort by an Iowa offense in any of the 257 games Kirk Ferentz has coached.
The yardage total was the ninth best in Hawkeye history and the most since Iowa gained 658 yards against Northern Iowa in 1997.
Going to its tempo package on offense as much as it has this season, Iowa ran 80 plays and gained an average of 8.1 yards on each of them against a porous Middle Tennessee defense that surrendered 351 rushing yards.
"We knew that they were going to blitz to the gap a lot and if we could slam the door on those, we knew we were going to be feeling pretty good,'' Iowa offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs said.
Coach Kirk Ferentz saw the Hawkeyes' performance -- an effort that included eight plays of 20 yards or more -- as a byproduct of the team's preparation.
"It's a good indication in week four that the team is thinking right and if you're thinking right, then you have a chance to improve,'' he said. "That's the race we're trying to run week in and week out.''
2. The consistently good
Nate Stanley continued to play like a senior quarterback with three years of starting experience.
He threw for a season-high 276 yards, completing 17-of-25 passes and helping Iowa with his feet, impacting the Hawkeyes' 10-of-16 conversion rate on third down.
Only four Big Ten starting quarterbacks have a better completion rate than the 64.4-percent effort Stanley has had in his 118 pass attempts during the Hawkeyes' 4-0 start.
Even more significantly, he has continued to do his part in taking care of the football.
Iowa has turned the ball over just once this season -- a fumble by Brady Ross in the season opener -- and Stanley joins Ohio State's Justin Fields as the only Big Ten starting quarterbacks without an interception this season.
Fields hasn't thrown a pick in 116 tries.
Overall, Stanley has attempted 137 passes since he was last intercepted. Mississippi State's Willie Gay Jr. grabbed a Stanley pass with 12:38 remaining in the third quarter of the Outback Bowl.
3. The not so good
The decisions being made in Iowa's punt return game continue to be perplexing.
Under a steel-gray sky, Middle Tennessee punted the ball away eight times Saturday, depositing three inside the 20-yard line.
First-year returner Nico Ragaini chose not to return any of the punts, signaling a fair catch at the Iowa 29, 19, 8, 21, 28 and 21 yard lines during the course of the game. The other two punts were downed by the Blue Raiders.
Growing into his role, Ragaini has averaged 8.4 yards on the five punts he has returned. That ranks eighth in the Big Ten.
4. The rookie
Receiver Brandon Smith said Iowa freshman Tyler Goodson has already earned a nickname from his teammates.
"I gave him the nickname the human joystick,'' Smith said. "He's one of our electric players. He's crazy.''
Goodson was crazy good for the Hawkeyes again on Saturday, rushing for a career-high 97 yards and catching three passes for seven yards in the win.
Ferentz compared the true freshman's poise to what he saw from eventual all-Big Ten tight end Tony Moeaki while making an immediate impact as a rookie in 2005.
"Everything he's done here, he just seems unfazed. He just acts like he belongs,'' Ferentz said. "Think about Tony Moeaki, the same way. He walked on campus, a young guy, you put him with the seniors and he played like a senior. That's a rare ability for a kid and Tyler has done a good job so far.''
Goodson is Iowa's third-leading rusher, averaging 5.9 yards on his 34 carries covering 202 yards so far this season.
5. The homecoming
Entering October with an unbeaten record for the fourth time in coach Kirk Ferentz's 21 seasons -- 2003, 2009 and 2015 came before this year's 4-0 start -- the Hawkeyes now turn their attention to Michigan.
Saturday's 11 a.m. game will be Iowa's first visit to Ann Arbor since 2012 and it will be the only chance three starters in the Hawkeye defensive lineup have to play at Michigan Stadium during their collegiate careers.
Linemen Chauncey Golston and Cedrick Lattimore and cornerback Michael Ojemudia all grew up within an hour's drive of the Michigan campus.
Golston was already downplaying his "big house'' homecoming minutes after Saturday's game.
"It's the next game. How am I supposed to feel?" he said. "I'm excited because it's the next game. I'm not one of those players that looks ahead to a game. You have to take it all one game at a time.''
Golston said he is looking forward to seeing family members, but wasn't going any further than that.
Asked if he found any extra motivation in facing his home-state school, Golston quickly put his game face back on.
"No, not really,'' he said.