IOWA CITY, Iowa — Riley Moss returned two first-half interceptions for touchdowns and No. 18 Iowa beat No. 17 Indiana 34-6 on Saturday.
Iowa intercepted three of Michael Penix Jr.’s passes and had a fourth wiped out by a roughing-the-passer call.
“We were very prepared,” Moss said. “We absolutely won because of film (study), and our preparation. Our game plan today was to stop the big plays, stay on top. We made them work for their yards, and their points.”
Tyler Goodson rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown for the Hawkeyes. Spencer Petras had a 9-yard touchdown run and completed 13 of 27 passes for 145 yards.
“I don’t want to say I’m surprised, but I’m very pleased,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It’s good team defense. I know that sounds mundane. But that’s how we play.”
Penix, coming off a knee injury late last season, had four interceptions in six games last season. He was 14 of 31 for 156 yards before coming out early in the fourth quarter.
“We had to play better,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “You have to play high-level football out of the gate against a team like this, and we didn’t.”
It was the seventh consecutive win for the Hawkeyes dating to last season. It was only the third loss for Indiana in its last 18 season openers.
Iowa opened the game with two touchdowns in just over two minutes. Goodson had a 56-yard touchdown run on the fourth offensive play. Three plays into the Hoosiers’ first possession, Moss intercepted a pass that went through the hands of Indiana receiver D.J. Matthews and returned it 30 yards for a score.
“I was kind of sitting there,” Moss said. “(Penix) threw the ball, so I made a break on it to try to tackle (Matthews). I saw the ball pop up. I got super excited. I was foaming at the mouth to catch the ball. I didn’t realize I scored a touchdown. I was like, ‘Holy cow, that happened.’”
Moss had a 55-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter to push the lead to 28-3.
“I did my job, and good things came from that,” Moss said.
Caleb Shudak had field goals of 41 and 35 yards for Iowa.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum went down with a minor injury on Petras’ touchdown run, but got up to play the rest of the game.
Linderbaum said he was hit in the thigh by someone’s helmet.
“Just a little banged up,” said Linderbaum, a preseason Associated Press All-American. “I’ll be fine.”
“I was a little nervous for Lindy at first,” Petras said. “But there’s no tougher guy in football than Tyler Linderbaum. I knew as soon as I saw him walking that he would be all right.”
Indiana sophomore wide receiver Javon Swinton served a one-game suspension for violation of team rules.
Swinton played in eight games last season and had four receptions for 52 yards. He was No. 2 on the depth chart at one of the three receiver positions.
Iowa’s defense, which hasn’t allowed an opponent to score more than 24 points in a game in the last 23 games, was opportunistic. The Hawkeyes’ offense struggled at times, their quick start had the Hoosiers scrambling the rest of the way.
The Hawkeyes should jump heading into next Saturday’s game at No. 7 Iowa State. The Hoosiers, in the preseason Associated Press poll for the first time since 1969, have been nationally ranked for 11 consecutive weeks.
Indiana: vs. Idaho Saturday.
Iowa: at Iowa State Saturday.