For small-town Iowa kids like Parker Hesse, it means a lot to pull on that Iowa Hawkeyes jersey every Saturday. He’s done it with pride for four years now.

It matters a lot to have success as well for Hesse, a Waukon, Iowa, native who is a standout defensive lineman for the Hawkeyes. That’s why it mattered so much to beat Iowa State last Saturday. That’s four in a row for Hesse and his teammates against the in-state rivals. That’s special for any Iowa kid.

Today, and forever.

“Three million people and 27 million pigs are involved in this game,” Hesse said after Saturday’s 13-3 win.¬†“It’s kind of a state holiday. To win four straight, that’s bragging rights for the rest of our lives, so that is something we’re extremely proud of.”

Hesse and the rest of the defensive line had a huge impact on this game. Iowa State rushed for only 19 yards on 25 carries, keeping talented back David Montgomery in check all game. It’s the fifth-lowest rushing total allowed in the Kirk Ferentz era.

Hesse also spent a lot of time in the backfield and he batted down a pass late in the game to end Iowa State’s final threat.

“On the line of scrimmage, where games are still won in this sport, they dominated,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ability to adjust.¬†Offensively, we could not sustain any consistency, especially up front. It exposed us in some of the most critical times.”

Iowa State gained only 188 total yards all day, and 66 of those came on an opening 13-play drive that ended with a field goal. The Hawkeyes never scored again,

“I’m certainly pleased with the way the team played on Saturday, coming out with a victory against Iowa State” Ferentz said Tuesday. “It’s always a tough game. I thought our team really played hard. As I said the other day, they played together, and that was probably the best thing we did. Overall at this point, really pleased with the progress we’re making. That being said, you look at the tape, still plenty of growing and developing that we have, a lot of opportunity for improvement, and that’s really where our focus is as we move on right now.”

Ferentz had plenty of praise for Hesse and the defensive line.

“Obviously the defensive line played well,” he said. ¬†“They were relentless out there and really set the tempo for our team, our defense. Offensively we still have work to do in terms of timing and tempo, developing a rhythm, but that’s just going to come from practicing and good execution in practice.”

Through these first two victories, it’s been the defense that’s led the way while the offensive continues to find its groove. To only allow 10 points total in the two opening wins is tremendous, especially with some big tests coming right around the corner. After Northern Iowa this week, the huge Big Ten West showdown with Wisconsin awaits.

Hesse and the defense seems up to the task right now.