Des Moines native Adam Robinson ran for 834 yards last year, the most yards any Iowa freshman running back has ever ran for in a single season.
He didn't miss a beat on Saturday, getting the rock 24 times for 109 yards and three scores against an FCS-ranked Eastern Illinois defense. Robinson ran in scores from two, four, and six yards.
But Robinson wasn't the only one impressing on the Iowa offense. Ricky Stanzi completed 78 percent of his passes and threw for a touchdown, and Bettendorf native Colin Sandeman led the Hawkeyes with 4 catches and 59 receiving yards. The Hawkeyes distributed the ball well, having 10 different players catch at least one ball.
The defense, well, is an Iowa defense. Norm Parker's defense only gave up 157 yards and 7 points. There is still room for improvement, though. Iowa's weak points in their defense were exposed early on during an EIU drive in the early second quarter. Brandon Large eventually finished that drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Von Wise.
Yes, they did only give up 92 yards passing, but Micah Hyde and Greg Castillo will be facing a lot tougher passing attacks in upcoming games. Hopefully, Shawn Prater can help them out when he comes back off an injury.
But other than the corners, the defense played just like they were expected. Adrian Clayborn and company owned the trenches and Tyler Sash was flying all around the field. It's been a good day whenever you're giving up less than 200 yards on defense.
It doesn't get any easier for the Hawkeyes, though. The No. 9 team in the nation has the Cy-Hawk series next Saturday, which has never been an easy game. The archrival Iowa State Cyclones came off a somewhat impressive 27-10 performance, beating Northern Illinois.
Then after that, the Hawks head down to Arizona to take on a much-improved Widcat bunch. Two weeks later, they face off against No. 19 Penn State, then off to the Big House to try and fend off a hungry and vastly improved Michigan Wolverine squad.
But nothing will make or break Iowa's season more than Week 7 against the Wisconsin Badgers and Week 11 against the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes. Both games are at Kinnick Stadium, but you never know with this Hawkeye bunch.
My prediction was 10-2 or 9-3. The loss is pending on next Saturday against Iowa State in Ames. Yes, Iowa should CLEARLY be the odds-on favorite to win the game against the 'little brothers' in the rivalry. But I have a feeling that Iowa State is out for blood.
Senior Austen Arnaud had an impressive 76 percent completion percentage, and his would-be 53-yard touchdown scamper that got called back early showed me that Iowa State's offense isn't messing around like it has the past four years. Plus, against Iowa's inexperienced and average cornerback play against Eastern Illinois, it could be somewhat of a rough day for the Hawkeyes dealing with ISU's passing attack.
As said, Iowa is still the odds-on favorite to win the game, but don't be shocked if the game is a lot closer than expected.
My other two losses come to Ohio State and...an upset loss at the Big House against Michigan. Denard Robinson's 383 yards of total offense is really hard to ignore. That, and the 20 point smacking they put on predicted Big East Champion UConn has some thinking that the Michigan Wolverines are back and ready to silence the critics. I am one those believers.
But Hawkeye fans have room to be optimistic. If Ricky Stanzi stays healthy, the offensive line builds better continuity, and the Hawks get better play out of their cornerbacks, they could still very well be in contention for the Big Ten title and a possible BCS berth. It should be an exciting rest of the season for the Hawkeyes, the Big Ten, and the rest of college football!