No. 9 Iowa 35, Iowa St. 7
Nearly all of Iowa's 11 victories came down to the fourth quarter last season. The Hawkeyes don't seem to be interested in such drama this season.
Adam Robinson rushed for a career-high 156 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries as No. 9 Iowa crushed Iowa State 35-7 Saturday for its third straight win over the rival Cyclones.
Ricky Stanzi threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Hawkeyes (2-0), who scored touchdowns on four of their first five drives.
Stanzi threw short TD passes to Marvin McNutt and Allen Reisner, and his 1-yard TD plunge gave Iowa a 28-0 lead at halftime.
Iowa has outscored its opponents 56-7 in the first half this season, a welcome change from its nailbiting antics of a year ago, when it won four games by three points or less.
''We were happy to get off to a fast start. It definitely takes a lot of pressure off,'' said Stanzi. ''Getting off to that early lead is a confidence builder for those young guys and for the whole offense.''
The Hawkeyes, who've never been much for style points, kept it simple and still blew out the Cyclones. Iowa ran the ball 50 times behind the duo of Robinson and Jewel Hampton, who played his first game since 2008.
Hampton, who redshirted last season following knee surgery and was suspended for last week's game for disciplinary reasons, added 84 yards on 20 carries, including a 2-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Robinson's 39-yard touchdown run made it 35-0 in the third quarter.
''We have a good 1-2 punch with those guys running together,'' Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Iowa State's Austen Arnaud threw three interceptions in the third quarter and finished 20 of 44 for 197 yards. The Cyclones (1-1) scored their first touchdown against Iowa since 2006 on Arnaud's 8-yard TD pass to Darius Darks with 1:51 left, but that was little consolation for a program that's seen their rival blow past them two years in a row.
Iowa thumped the Cyclones 35-3 on the road last year, and the Hawkeyes looked remarkably efficient in burying Iowa State this time. Iowa had scored 70 unanswered points on Iowa State until Arnaud's touchdown toss in garbage time.
''I'm a glass half-full kind of guy,'' Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. ''I thought we played a heck of a football game. They talk about Iowa as a contender for the national championship, and they should.''
Iowa scored a touchdown on its opening possession for the second straight week, capping a 13-play drive on Stanzi's 9-yard TD pass to McNutt. The Hawkeyes forced Iowa State into a quick three-and-out and went 71 yards in 16 plays, with Hampton's touchdown putting Iowa on top 14-0.
Karl Klug then sacked Arnaud to force another punt, and Stanzi found McNutt for a 66-yard completion and Reisner for a 2-yard TD pass that put the Hawkeyes ahead 21-0 with 10:02 left in the first half.
The nightmare only worsened for the Cyclones late in the second quarter. Robinson took a draw 75 yards to the Cyclones 1, and Stanzi's plunge gave Iowa a 28-0 lead with 2:52 left in the first half.
Stanzi finished 11 of 18 passing for 204 yards.
Alexander Robinson had just 48 yards rushing for Iowa State, which looked impressive in dispatching of Northern Illinois 27-10 last week. But the Cyclones had no answer for the Hawkeyes on either side of the ball once again, gaining just 275 yards of offense and allowing Iowa to score TDs on all four of its red-zone possessions.
Rhoads said Iowa State starting linebacker Matt Tau'fo'ou broke his leg, but he added that Tau'fo'ou should be back later this season.
The defense continues to be the driving force for the Hawkeyes, but the offense appears to have come around, too, after struggling at times a year ago.
It helps that Stanzi, who threw 15 interceptions in 2009, is pick-free this season.
''Probably the surprise right now would be on the offensive side. I think we've done a little better than maybe we probably would have predicted back in August,'' Ferentz said. ''It's a good start and a positive start.''