Iowa football off to a great start to 2021. How the Hawkeyes got to 2-0 and who they face

Ben Yoder
Hawk Central

Iowa has started the 2021 football season off with two dominant performances — a statement over in-state rival Iowa State in Ames after trouncing Indiana in the season opener in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes, who opened the season at No. 18 in both the USA TODAY Sports AFCA and Associated Poll preseason polls, are now ranked No. 7 by USA TODAY and No. 5 by AP.

Up next is a matchup against the MAC's Kent State. The Golden Flashes lost 41-10 to Texas A&M in their season opener but bounced back to beat VMI at home last week, 60-10. 

Following Saturday's game, Iowa will have one more nonconference matchup — Colorado State — before returning to Big 10 play against Maryland.

Heading into Saturday's game at Kinnick Stadium, however, the Hawkeyes are focused on Kent State.

"Looking at this game differently than the first two would be a shame on us," linebacker Jack Campbell said. "We're just really focused in on Kent State. If there's a change in preparation, there's a problem with your program.

Iowa vs. Kent State: What to know about the game

Iowa and Kent State don't have much history, having played only twice before. In 2001, the Hawkeyes shut out the Golden Flashes while scoring 51 points. In 2004, it was another Hawkeyes victory, with Iowa outscoring Kent State 39-7. Last year, Kent State went 3-1 in an abbreviated Mid-American Conference season. The Golden Flashes are 1-1

Here's a closer look at Iowa's 2021 football schedule, game stats:

Iowa at Iowa State: Hawkeyes 27, Cyclones 17

  • The win marks the sixth straight for the Hawkeyes against the Cyclones.
  • Total offense for Iowa: 173 yards (106 passing yards and 67 yards rushing).
  • Iowa's defense had four sacks and recovered four turnovers.

Takeaways: Iowa gained less than 200 yards of offense on the day, but the Hawkeyes still dominated. The Iowa defense forced four Cyclones turnovers, including three interceptions from Brock Purdy before he was benched. A fumble by Iowa State running back Breece Hall deep in Cyclones territory was returned for a touchdown by Jack Campbell. The special teams also came up big. Iowa punter Tory Taylor had a 69-yard punt that changed the game in a tight third quarter and Caleb Shudak had a 51-yard field goal. Charlie Jones was not only a game-changer at receiver, he was dynamic as a punt returner.

Iowa vs. Indiana: Hawkeyes 34, Hoosiers 6

  • Iowa had 303 yards in total offense against Indiana (145 yards passing and 185 yards rushing).
  • Iowa's offense had 18 first downs to 11 by Indiana.
  • Riley Moss had two interceptions for touchdowns.

Takeaways: Iowa overwhelmed Indiana from the beginning, getting a 34-6 win in the 2021 season-opener. Iowa got off to a fast start with a 56-yard touchdown by Tyler Goodson on his second carry of the game. Riley Moss made it 14-0 in the first quarter after a pick six. The defense was dominant, holding Indiana to 90 yards rushing (2.5 per attempt) and 156 yards throwing and no touchdowns.

Who else does Iowa play this season?

Iowa vs. Colorado State

What to know about matchup: This will be the first time Iowa and Colorado State have played. Last year, the Rams went 1-3 in the Mountain West in an abbreviated season. An Iowa win this year could be extra special because it's Family Weekend in Iowa City.

Iowa at Maryland

What to know about matchup: It will be Friday Night Lights for Iowa vs. Maryland this year. The game, originally scheduled for Oct. 2, was moved to Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. and will air on FS1. Since Maryland joined the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes and Terps have faced each other three times, with Iowa winning the past two, 23-0 in 2018 and 31-15 in 2015. Maryland won the first game in 2014, 38-31. Last year, Maryland went 2-3.

More:Here's your chance to join Chad Leistikow's Iowa Hawkeyes text-message group

Iowa vs. Penn State

What to know about matchup: Last year, Iowa snapped a six-game losing streak against Penn State with a 41-21 win in Iowa City. Iowa's defense generated four turnovers that accounted for 24 points, including a 71-yard pick six by Daviyon Nixon. Prior to last year's win, the Hawkeyes hadn't beaten the Nittany Lions since 2010. With 13 wins to 17 losses, Iowa trails Penn State in the series.

Iowa vs. Purdue

What to know about matchup: It will be homecoming weekend in Iowa City when Iowa takes on Purdue. For a win, Iowa will need to contain star Purdue wide receiver David Bell, who caught 13 passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns against the Hawkeyes last year as a sophomore. His winning touchdown was set up a by an Iowa fumble. Iowa has lost three of the past four meetings, with the sole win coming in 2019 in Iowa City. In the past 10 matchups, Iowa has six wins to four losses. Purdue leads the series 49-39-3.

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz gets his team ready for Wisconsin on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.

Iowa at Wisconsin

What to know about matchup: Iowa beat Wisconsin last year, but the Badgers have owned the series of late, winning four of the past five and seven of the past 10. Iowa has not won back-to-back games against Wisconsin since the 2008 and 2009 seasons. This year, the Hawkeyes will travel up to Madison, where they haven't won since 2015, which was a 10-6 slugfest. Overall, Iowa trails in the series 44-48-2.

Iowa vs. Northwestern

What to know about matchup: Last year, Iowa scored 17 points against Northwestern in the first quarter only to see the lead trimmed to 20-14 by halftime. In the second half, Northwestern got the only score, putting them up 21-20 for the win. The loss for the Hawkeyes was the fourth in the past five games against the Wildcats. Iowa leads the series 51-28-3

Iowa vs. Minnesota

What to know about matchup: Grab your black T-shirts: The battle for the Floyd of Rosedale trophy is a Black Out Game. For it to remain in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes will need to make it seven straight against Minnesota, after Iowa beat the Gophers for the sixth straight season last year. On four previous occasions, Iowa had a five-game winning streak against Minnesota, but the current one is the longest. Overall, Iowa has 50 wins to 62 losses and two ties in the series, but the Hawkeyes have won eight of the past 10 games.

Iowa vs. Illinois

What to know about matchup: Iowa, which has seven straight wins against Illiniois, has only lost to the Illini three times in the Kirk Ferentz era. Overall, Iowa trails in the series, with 36 wins, 38 losses and two ties. Last year, the defense was key in Iowa's 35-21 win at Illinois. This year's game in Iowa City will be senior day.

Iowa at Nebraska

What to know about matchup: Iowa has won six straight in the Heroes Game series, but it hasn't been easy with Scott Frost as Nebraska's coach. Last year, Iowa won 26-20 and the 2018 and 2019 games were decided by a field goal. Overall, Iowa trails in the series, with 19 wins against 29 losses. There have been three ties. Frost is still looking for his first win against Iowa as coach. This year's game in Lincoln will be on Black Friday.