The Iowa Hawkeyes are one of the Big Ten’s most consistent football programs, so the reality of an 0-2 record to open the season—their worst start in 20 years—has cast a pall over the program.

But the pain and embarrassment of back to back bad losses can either force a team into retreat or motivate them to turn the tide and battle back into contention, and two of the Hawkeyes leaders on offense and defense are campaigning for the latter.

Tyler Goodson, the Hawkeyes swift former three-star high-school running back and potential home run hitter, told Iowa FB Live the team was digging in for Saturday’s home game against Michigan State.

“Saturday is very important. Along with every other Saturday,” said Goodson. “[Starting] 0-2 is frustrating for this team. We want to do better and we will do better.”

On the other side of the football, first year starting defensive back Dane Belton, a sophomore out of Tampa, Florida’s Jesuit high school, said the team was using practice to get better and wanted to be ready to rumble Saturday. 

“Like you said — 0-2 start — that’s tough in anything. Especially in a shortened football season. Back-to-back losses hurt. Practice is crucial. We have to go out and bring intensity and play our best.”

Michigan State goes to Iowa City at 1-1, having lost an embarrassing game at home to Rutgers University after turning the ball over seven times, and winning on the road in a massive upset over in-state blood rival University of Michigan at the Big House.

The Hawkeyes enter the game a touchdown favorite over the Spartans across most betting books. The kickoff at Kinnick Stadium is set for noon eastern.