Iowa ruined what was expected to be a knockdown, drag-out season-opener against another ranked foe in Indiana Saturday here at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes posted two touchdowns in the game's first two and a half minutes and never looked back.
The Hawkeyes and their fans weren't complaining even if the drubbing was a drag for onlookers around the country expecting drama. After two years without football in front of a crowd because of the pandemic, the Hawkeyes ran with the opportunity and rocked the house.
The volume in the historic venue after Riley Moss's first of two Pick-Sixes put Iowa up 14-0 with 12:45 left the first quarter made your ears ring. Running back Tyler Goodson got the party started with a 56-yard scoring sprint.
Iowa built a 28-3 halftime advantage and never looked back in a 34-6 victory. Some fans hit the exits early and caught up with friends at tailgates after missing them last season.
"I'm surprised," Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "I thought it would be a close game down to the end."
Iowa surely will rise from 18 in the rankings this week. They'll probably be an underdog next Saturday at Top 10 Iowa State, but the dismantling of No. 17 Indiana has to have the Cyclone folks a little on edge.
We thought the Hawkeyes would be formidable, but you never know for sure what you have until the ball kicks off for real. Now we see they're for real.
The Hoosiers came to town with arguably the top quarterback and wide receiver in the Big Ten. Iowa silenced Michael Penix Jr. and Ty Fryfogle.
IU had to think it could run against the inexperienced Hawkeye defensive line. It tried. Nothing doing.
One of the biggest mismatches when Iowa built its early lead was the intensity level. You expected it would feed off the Kinnick energy, but it was flying around on both sides of the ball and a veteran Hoosier outfit looked like a deer in the headlights.
Indiana broke out last season and was looking for validation against one of the conference's most consistently successful programs. Instead, it got its collective asses handed to it from a physical and mental standpoint, and now heads back to the drawing board.
Let the Cy-Hawk hype train chug down the road this week. The "Game" in this state deserves it, especially this season when it's nationally relevant.
Iowa State squeaked by Northern Iowa, 16-10, Saturday as a 31-point favorite. The performance allowed outsiders to question the Cyclones' validity as a College Football Playoff contender. Coupled with Iowa's dominating victory, it no doubt pushed people to pick the Hawkeyes to win its sixth in a row in the series next week at Jack Trice Stadium.
The Hawkeyes would love nothing more than to stretch the streak to a half dozen. But Saturday's stomping of IU means more. Conference contests always do.
Iowa sits a 1-0 in the Big Ten West Division with other expected title contenders - Wisconsin and Northwestern - at 0-1 with losses at home. The Hawkeyes are seeking their first division championship since 2015 and their first conference crown since '04. Saturday's win and the nature of it shows this team possesses the potential to end the droughts.
The student-athletes will continue taking it one week at a time like they've done since training began for the season in January. That focus has them here. They now move on with more confidence after Saturday's effort and execution, an important building block.
"This team has run the race well to this point," Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras said. "One game is not a full season. If we want to achieve our team goals, we have to play like this every week. I am really proud of our team and how we have run the race to this point."