Every game matters in college football, but some of them matter a little more. You can’t always get coaches and players to say so, but sometimes it’s obvious.

This Saturday is one of those obvious moments. It’s Iowa vs. Iowa State week, with the Cy-Hawk Trophy — and state bragging rights — on the line. There are 59 native Iowans on the Hawkeyes’ roster, so this one definitely means a little bit more when the Hawkeyes and Cyclones get together at 4 p.m. CT in Iowa City. (TV: Fox)

Here are five things I’d like to see from the Hawkeyes in this battle of brothers:

1. Confidence level remains high after opening win

As we’ve discussed all weekend, the Hawkeyes deserved a lot of credit for playing so well in their 33-7 win over Northern Illinois last Saturday in Iowa City. That could have been a sticky situation with suspensions leading to some bad matchups, but Iowa never let it get to that point. The defense was superb for 60 minutes and the offense, after a slow start, really got clicking. Everybody stepped up, which was impressive.

The Hawks have to be feeling good about themselves right now, and that confidence level needs to carry over into Week 2 against a stronger opponent with a lot to play for. I’d like to see them play with confidence from the first possession.

2. Iowa’s defense returns to form in rivalry

Iowa won last year’s game 44-41 in overtime, and while it’s always good to win a rivalry game, the Hawkeyes’ defense was disgusted with how they played. They vow there will be no repeat performance this week, and I’ll want to see it to believe it. Iowa State’s offense is legitimately good.

“They were a challenging offense last year, and unfortunately for us, we gave up some big plays and gave up too many points. But our offense picked us up and probably really won us that game,” Iowa safety Jake Gervase said earlier this week. “We’re looking forward to that challenge of trying to shut down their offense Saturday and hopefully not put as much stress on our offense.”

3. Offense gets off to a better start

The only obvious flaw a week ago was the slow start by the offense against Northern Illinois, which does have a legitimately good defense. Of Iowa’s six drives in the first half, four were three-and-outs, one ended on a failed fourth-down conversion and the fifth ended with a field goal. That’s not good — and it won’t fly against Iowa State.

“There’s always room to improve. Maybe it wasn’t where we wanted it to be in Week 1 but we’re continuing to work extremely hard day by day and trying to improve upon it,” Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley said. Better accuracy from Stanley and fewer drops from the receivers could turn this situation around quickly. It was better in the second half last week, and it needs to continue to get better on Saturday.

4. Seniors get fourth-straight win in rivalry

Back in the Hayden Fry days, Iowa State was one of the worst major-college programs in the country and the Hawkeyes always roughed them up, winning 15 in a row at one point. On Saturday, the Hawkeyes can win their fourth straight in the rivalry, something that Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has never done. He’s won three in a row, but never four.

“Going 4-0 against these guys in our years of eligibility would be a big deal to us Iowa guys,” Hawkeyes center Keegan Render said. “It’s a big rivalry. It’s something you can talk about and something you’re just proud of.”

5. At the end of the day, keeping the trophy where it belongs

Iowa State is a good team. Matt Campbell is a good coach and he proved that last year with wins over then-No. 3 Oklahoma and then-No. 4 TCU. The man can coach, and he has players.

“Trophy games are the epitome of playing football,” Iowa defensive end Parker Hesse said. “You train year-round, you practice all week for that one moment after the game of saying, ‘We did it.’ All those days, all those weeks added up for this moment. “In trophy games, you really get to express that, going over there and hoisting that trophy up. That’s what makes them really special.”