Different style but same result: win is all that matters to Ross, Iowa

Iowa offensive lineman Keegan Render, left, and Iowa defensive back Jake Gervase, right, hoists up the Cy-Hawk trophy after their 13-3 win over Iowa State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Iowa City, Iowa.(AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

IOWA CITY — In typical Iowa Hawkeye fashion, style points mean absolutely nothing to junior fullback Brady Ross.

The Humboldt High School graduate and his teammates were only concerned about two numbers at the end of Saturday’s 13-3 donnybrook against rival Iowa State: their record to date, 2-0, and their record against the Cyclones since arriving on campus, 4-0.

“Of course the goal as an offense is to put up 55 points every time you take the field,” Ross said. “But being pragmatic about it, that’s just not going to happen. Every game isn’t going to be a shootout.

“If you look back, a lot of Iowa football (victories) through the years have been ‘ugly wins.’ But they all count the same.”

Last year, the Hawks and Cyclones traded offensive punches all afternoon long in a 44-41 instant classic at Jack Trice Stadium. There were 670 yards and nine touchdowns accumulated by the two teams in passing alone.

Quarterback Nathan Stanley and the Iowa offense was held in check by ISU this time around — the Hawkeyes did manage to tip the 100-yard rushing scale at the very end, which makes them 30-1 in the last three-plus years when topping the century mark on the ground — but the Hawkeyes didn’t turn the ball over for the third straight meeting in the series and did just enough down the stretch to separate themselves from the Cyclones.

“These guys always come to play against us,” Ross said. “I have nothing but positive things to say about them and their defense, especially. We beat a quality opponent that’s going to win a lot of games.”

The Iowa defense, meanwhile, suffocated Iowa State. The Cyclones managed just 19 net rushing yards on 25 carries, and only 188 yards from scrimmage as a team.

“It may surprise some people on the outside that the defense would be this good this early (despite losing stars Josey Jewell and Josh Jackson to the NFL), but we knew inside our camp,” Ross said. “They’ve been working so hard since winter. Josey and Josh may not be here anymore physically, but they left lasting impressions culturally.”

While many fans may consider an offensive scorefest more entertaining than a defensive slugfest, Iowa will unapologetically take the win either way and never look back.

“We’ve done some positive things on offense so far, but we have a lot to clean up,” Ross said. “So to me, that’s a positive for (the long-term outlook of the team). We can be and will get a lot better. We’re 2-0 (despite being ragged at times) offensively. That’s exciting, not concerning.”