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Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Before the 2021 college football season began, it looked like Iowa’s defense would be tested in Weeks 1 and 2, facing Indiana and Iowa State quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. and Brock Purdy, respectively.

The Hawkeyes were, however, prepared to meet the challenges presented by both QBs.

Iowa has forced seven total turnovers this season, six of which have come through the air. Penix Jr. and Purdy each threw three picks against the Hawkeyes. Both were ultimately benched in their respective matchups with Iowa.

The Hawkeyes have only turned the ball over once this season. Senior running back Ivory Kelly-Martin lost a fumble against Indiana in Week 1. So, Iowa has produced six more turnovers than it’s given up this season.

Iowa’s offense hasn’t quite hit the same stride as its defense yet. Nevertheless, the Hawkeyes haven’t been totally anemic offensively — scoring four touchdowns in two games.

Iowa’s solid defensive performances have led it to two wins over AP top-25 teams in the first two weeks of the 2021 season. Iowa is the only team to beat two ranked squads so far this season, giving the Hawkeyes the best résumé in the Big Ten through two weeks of action.

They say offense comes and goes, but defense is about effort. If the defense can stay stingy and continue to pounce on opportunities to force turnovers, and the offense improves, Iowa is going to be tough to beat this season.

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