Hawkeye Defense Dismantles Hoosiers

Hawkeye Defense Dismantles Hoosiers

In front of 70,000 fans inside Kinnick Stadium, the Iowa Hawkeyes started off fast and didn’t let up against the Indiana Hoosiers. Iowa dismantled the Hoosiers with a 34-6 victory at home. There had been a lot of talk regarding Indiana’s linebackers and the dynamic passing game that their quarterback Michael Penix brings to the table. However, it’s the much-talked-about Iowa secondary making the ultimate difference as the Hawkeye defense completely dismantles the Hoosiers.

Hawkeye Defense Dismantles Hoosiers

Following a 33-yard return on the opening kickoff, Iowa’s Tyler Goodson immediately broke a 56-yard touchdown run to put the Hawkeyes on the board just 90 seconds into the game. On the ensuing Indiana possession, Iowa cornerback Riley Moss jumped a route, intercepted Penix, and returned it for a touchdown. Before the 70,000-plus fans could even buy a drink, Iowa had 14 quick points; and that wouldn’t be all from Moss. 

Late in the second quarter, Iowa had a comfortable 21-3 lead with the ball when Goodson fumbled near midfield. Indiana got the stop they needed, but it was immediately erased. On the first play of Indiana’s possession, Moss eyed down a short hook pattern and jumped another route. He intercepted his second pass of the day and returned it 55 yards for his second pick-six. Iowa took a 28-3 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the half.

On the very next Indiana possession, Penix missed a pass high and it landed in the arms of Iowa cornerback Dane Belton. Spencer Petras and the Hawks took over on offense with just over a minute remaining in the half. Petras drove Iowa 21 yards and closed out the half with a Caleb Shudak field goal to go up by 28 points.

Offensive Sparks

Offensively, Iowa came out with some quick-hitting passes and even flashed some new-look formations. After the Goodson and Moss touchdowns, Petras took a shotgun snap in the red zone and ran a designed quarterback draw for a nine-yard touchdown. Some creativity from offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz paid off for an easy six. An Iowa quarterback run is typically in the form of a sneak, but this play call gave Petras a walk-in score. Center Tyler Linderbaum went down on the play and hobbled off the field with what appeared to be a leg injury. He visited the medical tent where it was reported that he took a helmet to the knee on the play. It wasn’t a serious injury and Linderbaum was back out there on the next Iowa drive.

Despite a young offensive line, Iowa was able to show some sparks in the run game. The yards came tough against a good Hoosier front, but Goodson and Ivory Kelly-Martin managed 143 yards between the two of them. Goodson had that long touchdown run to open the game and ended the day with 99 rushing yards. He even caught some air hurdling a defender. Kelly-Martin broke open for a 22 yard gain as well. The two looked good and showed some bursts, but they didn’t have to carry the team with the performance the Hawks had on defense. 

Indiana’s Struggles

Indiana was quickly flustered after the Goodson touchdown run and a quick pick-six. They attempted to slow things down and get their running back Stephen Carr the ball, but it wasn’t sustainable. The USC transfer had only 57 rushing yards on the day and couldn’t break through the first level of the Hawkeye defense.

The Hoosiers came out in the second half and drove the field to convert a field goal, but that’s all they could muster up. Iowa was stout on defense all day and it left the Hoosiers out of options on all fronts. Other than the two field goals, their longest drive was 25 yards. Iowa’s defense was consistently getting a great push up front forcing Penix into difficult throws. Iowa had three interceptions on the day. But they had a few near-picks including three that were dropped and one was called back. Penix only threw four interceptions last season, but he had some questionable passes that fell his way. That was not the case against Moss and the Hawkeye secondary. Those questionable passes ended up in the hands of the Hawks. 

In his interview with the Big Ten Network following the win, Moss said, “We can play with anyone in the country if we are all doing our job.” That certainly looked to be the case on the field as the Iowa defense was clicking. They ended the day with six quarterback hurries, three interceptions, and a sack. 

Ames Next Week

Next week, Iowa will make the trip west to Ames to play a top-10 program in Iowa State. The Cyclones received a lot of off-season hype and bring significant returning experience to the field. For Iowa, a 34-6 win over the 17th ranked team in the country vaults them into the national picture right alongside the Cyclones. This year’s Cy-Hawk matchup is going to be greatly anticipated. In all likelihood, it will probably be a top-15 matchup. It’s on to the Cyclones and Iowa will need to prepare for a hostile environment at Jack Trice Stadium. It will be Iowa’s first trip to a visiting stadium full of fans since 2019, and it has national implications.