Hawks ready for defensive battle with Spartans - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

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Hawks ready for defensive battle with Spartans

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Iowa's defense is giving up just 79 yards per game, the seventh best mark in the nation. Iowa's defense is giving up just 79 yards per game, the seventh best mark in the nation.

It's homecoming for the Hawkeyes this week as they welcome Michigan State to Iowa City. Iowa has won four straight including their Big Ten opener at Minnesota last week. The Spartans are 3-1 and are playing their conference opener.

The Hawkeye defense has given up just ten points in their last two games combined. In their 23-7 win over Minnesota last week, Iowa held Minnesota to just 30 yards rushing, more than 250 yards below its season average

Iowa's defense has held its first five opponents under their rushing average.

Michigan State averages 187 rushing yards per game, while the Iowa defense is allowing just 79 rushing yards -- an average that ranks seventh-best in the country.

"It's going to be a big challenge for us this week," said Kirk Ferentz. "Their running attack is certain to kick into gear the way I'd imagine they want it. They looked really good their last time out. They're giving up a ridiculously small number of rushing yards, I think it's under sixty. They've got a tough defensive football team. It's going to be a real challenge for us. The statistics were good Saturday but you look at the film Sunday and there's an awful lot of things we need to do better, we're going to have to do better this week."

The Hawks have won three of their last four meetings with Michigan State, including a 19-16 win in double overtime last year. That game starts at 11:00 am Saturday on ESPN 2.

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