The Iowa defense came to play against South Dakota State on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium but it was a different story for the Hawkeyes offense.

Iowa overcame a woeful first half to beat South Dakota State 7-3 in its season opener on Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium.

Boos rained down at Kinnick as Iowa fans let the Hawkeyes know about their disappointment in the team’s first-half performance.

Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras was intercepted by South Dakota State linebacker Caleb Franci late in the first half. Seven plays and 11 yards later, the Jackrabbits capitalized with a 44-yard field goal by Hunter Dustman to even the score.

The Hawkeyes defense held the Jackrabbits to 76 yards of offense in the first, but Iowa’s offense only generated 56 yards.

But Iowa’s special teams provided highlight moments throughout the game.

Kicker Aaron Blom nailed a 46-yard field goal to put the Hawkeyes on the scoreboard with 1 minute, 1 second left in the first quarter.

Blom, a redshirt sophomore playing in his first career collegiate game, missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt earlier in the first quarter.

Punter Tory Taylor had four punts for 195 yards, for 48.8 yards per punt. Taylor, a junior from Melbourne, Australia, had punts downed on the 1-, 2-, 6-, 12- and 8-yard lines.

Iowa took the lead in the third quarter with a safety, as Hawkeyes linebacker Jack Campbell tackled Jackrabbits running back Isaiah Davis in the end zone. Another safety in the fourth quarter closed the scoring. It was that kind of game.

The Hawkeyes posed a red-zone threat late in the third until the Jackrabbits’ Adam Bock stripped the ball from Iowa running back Leshon Williams at SDSU’s 7-yard line.

Though the news came as no surprise heading into the season opener, Spencer Petras was named Iowa’s starting quarterback 4 days ago ahead of Alex Padilla.

Late in the fourth quarter, Petras had completed 11 of his 25 passes for 109 yards, zero touchdowns and 1 interception.

The Jackrabbits contained Iowa standout Sam LaPorta to 2 catches for 9 yards LaPorta was the top-ranked Big Ten tight end last season with 53 catches for 670 yards.

Wide receiver Arland Bruce IV led the Hawkeyes with 5 catches for 68 yards. Williams led Iowa rushers with 17 rushes for 55 yards.

Iowa finished with a mere 166 total yards of offense.

The Hawkeyes were without the services of wide receivers Nico Ragaini and Keegan Johnson, along with running back Gavin Williams.

SDSU quarterback Mark Gronowski Is back under center this season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Jackrabbits’ 2022 spring game. Gronowski led SDSU to a national championship appearance in 2021, four months prior to the injury.

Gronowski was slow to get up after a hard hit by Iowa free safety Quinn Schulte with less than 8:30 left in the third quarter. Gronowski, who was replaced by Rudy Voss, returned at the end of the third.

The Jackrabbits were a 5-3 Missouri Valley Football squad in 2021, and reached the Football Championship Subdivision national semifinals for the 4th time in 5 seasons.

Iowa hosts Iowa State next week, on Sept. 10, in the annual Cy-Hawk series between the rival teams.