AMES — Five things to think about following the Iowa football team's 27-17 win Saturday at Iowa State:
1. The better than good
Led by a veteran secondary that is playing that way, Iowa's ball-hawking defense has a chance to be something special. It added to its collection of seven takeaways on Saturday with three interceptions and a fumble recovery.
In addition to matching a career high with eight tackles, Jack Campbell gave Iowa's defense its third touchdown through two games when he returned a fumble six yards for a score to break open a 14-10 game in the third quarter.
Matt Hankins had a pair of the picks, making up for lost time after missing the 2019 Cy-Hawk match-up while dealing with a hamstring injury. He finished with four tackles and broke up one pass in addition to the two he intercepted and returned 41 yards.
His first interception set up Iowa's first touchdown, a 4-yard Tyler Goodson run that put Iowa ahead to stay at 7-3.
"It was huge in my last year being able to play in the Cy-Hawk game,'' Hankins said. "I feel like I could have done better, truthfully. That long (49-yard pass to Darren Wilson that set up ISU's first touchdown) at the end of the (first) half, that was my zone.''
2. The better than good II
Tory Taylor continues to be a field flipper for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa's punter from down under averaged 51.1 yards on eight punts against the Cyclones, leaving Iowa State with starting points of its 8, 6, 10, 25, 6, 24, 17 and 20 yard lines.
Taylor's leg and an opportunistic defense have combined to help the Hawkeyes open the season with a pair of wins against ranked opponents, reminding coach Kirk Ferentz a little bit of the 1981 Iowa team he worked with as a first-year offensive line coach.
"In '81, we got to the Rose Bowl having a guy able to put a punt wherever he wanted (Reggie Roby) with a great defense,'' Ferentz said. "When you can affect field position through the kicking game, it really gives you a good chance, especially if you have a defense that's opportunistic.''
3. The hardware goods
Saturday's win was Iowa's sixth straight against Iowa State and it continued the Hawkeyes' string of success in trophy games.
Linebacker Jestin Jacobs walked off the field with six fingers raised in the air.
"The emotion comes out, six comes up,'' Jacobs said.
Since going winless in its four in-season trophy games in 2014, fifth-ranked Iowa has held onto the hardware it plays for each year.
The Hawkeyes are now 20-4 in the trophy games in the last six-plus seasons, including 6-0 records against Iowa State, Minnesota and Nebraska. Wisconsin has provided the only blemishes on that record, beating Iowa in four of the six games it has played over that span.
4. The not so bad
While the Hawkeye offense has some work to do, Iowa continues to put points on the board.
In its ongoing eight-game win streak, Iowa has scored at least 25 points in each game. With Saturday's 27 points, it marks the first time the Hawkeyes have scored at least 25 points in a string of eight straight games.
The effort has been complemented by a defense that has now played 24 consecutive games without giving up 25 points. That is the longest streak in the nation among teams from power-five conferences.
5. The potentially ugly
Iowa State's defense had something to do with it, dropping Iowa for losses on 11 of the 60 plays it ran, but the Hawkeyes have some work to do offensively.
Iowa's ground game averaged a paltry 1.7 yards per carry on its 39 rushes against the Cyclones.
The Hawkeyes gained some traction on the ground during the second quarter, but have plenty of room to improve.
"We're nowhere near reaching our full potential by any means on either side of the ball,'' quarterback Spencer Petras said. "As good as it feels to be 2-0, it doesn't mean anything.''
Upcoming games against Kent State, which brings a 1-1 record into Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game at Kinnick Stadium, and currently winless Colorado State should give the Hawkeyes some room to grow on the ground.
Kent State has allowed 220.5 rushing yards per game in splitting games against Texas A&M and VMI, while Colorado State has given up 172 rushing yards per game in losses to South Dakota State and Vanderbilt.