116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It may have meant a lot more than two points.
After most of Iowa’s defense chased down Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum in the end zone after Crum chased down an errant center snap midway through the first quarter, the Hawkeyes did some officiating.
Defensive back Kaevon Merriweather and linebacker Seth Benson immediately gave the signal for a safety. Quickly joining them were linebacker Jack Campbell, defensive linemen Joe Evans and Zach VanValkenburg, and cornerback Riley Moss.
Those six players and defensive lineman Lukas Van Ness were all over Crum. Van Ness and VanValkenburg got credit for the shared sack, with Campbell arriving on the scene a split-second after those two. Only Van Ness didn’t give the safety signal, a freshman mistake.
In hindsight, that moment showed a couple things. One, a safety clearly is a very satisfying result for a defender. Turnovers for touchdowns set off explosive celebrations, but there’s something stifling and dominating about a safety.
Two, Iowa’s defensive players aren’t exaggerating when they keep telling us they’re 11 hearts beating as one.
“That’s another thing Coach (Phil) Parker stresses,” Campbell said after the game “When you look up, you should see all 11 hats running right at you.
“When you look up, you’ve got six Hawkeyes running at you and you’re on the goal line and you get blasted in the end zone for a safety, that’s just a great team feeling.”
The safety was the first two points in Iowa’s 30-7 win, and it set up the Hawkeyes’ first touchdown when the ensuing kickoff was returned to the Iowa 45 and Tyler Goodson ran 46 yards for a score three plays later.
The game was far from decided at that point, but the die was cast.
Iowa’s defense didn’t play a perfect game, because those don’t exist. (OK, Minnesota holding Colorado to 63 yards Saturday in the Gophers’ 30-0 win straddle the boundary of perfection.)
But you’ll seldom lose when you sack your opponent once for every point it scored, and that’s what happened at Kinnick Saturday.
Here’s where we turn the page and look ahead. And no, not to this week when Iowa hosts Colorado State.
OK, just for a moment. After opening its season with home losses to South Dakota State and Vanderbilt, Colorado State got a 22-6 win at Toledo Saturday. The only touchdown in that game was on a CSU punt return. Cayden Camper made all five of his field-goal tries for the Rams.
So much for Colorado State. Unlike Iowa’s players, we can look ahead all we want without heeding coaches’ admonitions to not do that.
Hey, we have to live our own lives one game at a time. If we have a low tire, we can’t be focused on a long car trip next month. We have to get air in that tire now.
If we’re out of dog food, we can’t daydream about how satisfied the dog will be when it enjoys dinner two weeks from now. We need to get the pooch something to eat right now.
As football followers, though, look ahead all you want. As you do, you’ll see the potential is in plain sight for Iowa’s two games after Colorado State to be Battles of the Unbeaten. That’s kind of fun, no?
The Hawkeyes are at Maryland Oct. 8. The 3-0 Terrapins host none other than Kent State Saturday before awaiting Iowa’s arrival the following Friday evening. If both aren’t 4-0 entering next week, something has gone terribly wrong.
Assuming Iowa will take down the Terps is assuming something you shouldn’t do. Maryland has averaged 517 yards, including 481 in its 20-17 win at Illinois Friday that it did very well to pull out.
However, I repeat: We can look ahead all we want. Let’s say the Hawkeyes get past Maryland. Their Oct. 9 game against Penn State would probably be a clash of 5-0 teams.
The Nittany Lions were terrific in their 28-20 win over Auburn Saturday night. They play Villanova (Villanova?) Saturday, and get Indiana at home the following week.
Penn State and Iowa, both 5-0, at Kinnick? At night, maybe?
But first, Maryland. I mean, Colorado State.
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