Remember last week? That was fun wasn’t it? This week, not so much.
Iowa jumped all over Michigan State early and never looked back on the way to an easy 49-7 victory.
The Hawkeyes carved up the MSU defense in the early going, with touchdowns on each of their first two possessions. This just one week after MSU held Michigan in check for the bulk of the game.
The defensive unit seemed to get its act together after that, but it was every other phase of the game that came apart for the Spartans. Rocky Lombardi threw three first half interceptions, the last of which was returned for a touchdown to put Iowa up 35-0 late in the second quarter.
That came shortly after a 54-yard punt return for a touchdown by Charlie Jones of Iowa. Punt coverage struggled mightily once again for the Spartans.
It looked like MSU might try and make a game of it in the second quarter, when Lombardi hit Jalen Nailor for a 56-yard connection into Iowa territory. But after a toss play on third-and-one was stopped for a four-yard loss, Mel Tucker opted to kick a 48-yard field goal down 21 points, but Matt Coghlin missed the attempt.
That was the only first half drive that gained more than 16 yards.
The Spartans finally got on the board on the first drive of the second half as former punter Tyler Hunt scored his first career touchdown on a one-yard run. That came after another long connection between Lombardi and Nailor, this time for 57 yards, which set the Spartan offense up in the red zone.
But the comeback hopes were short lived as Tyler Goodson ripped off a 71-yard run on the very next Iowa play, all the way down to the MSU four-yard line. The Hakweyes would punch it in three plays later.
That was pretty much it for this one, although we did get our first look at Payton Thorne at quarterback. Thorne entered the game deep into the fourth quarter, and immediately went four-and-out after handing it off three times and missing a throw on fourth down.
The Spartan defense allowed 405 yards to Iowa, with 226 of that coming on the ground. Tyler Goodson led the way with 113 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries.
For MSU, Lombardi finished the game 17-37 for 227 yards with no scores and three interceptions.
Jordan Simmons finished as the leading rusher for MSU with 34 yards on nine carries.
Nailor led the team with 124 yards on four catches thanks to those two 50-plus yarders.
Michigan State was also penalized eight times for 55 yards, the bulk of those being unforced sloppy mistakes.
Burn the tape on this one and move on to Indiana next week.