Rallying back from a two-score second-quarter deficit, the Iowa Hawkeyes defeated the Illinois Fighting Illini, 35-21, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday.

With the loss, Lovie Smith’s Illini fell to 2-4, while Kirk Ferentz’ Hawkeyes improved to 5-2.

After dropping their first two games of the season, a clash with the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette on October 24 and a home date with the Northwestern Wildcats on October 31, Iowa has now won five-straight games, making them one of just four Big Ten Conference programs with at least that many victories, joining the Indiana Hoosiers, Northwestern, and the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Addressing the media postgame, Ferentz touched on the improvement his team has shown to reach this point and the energy they played with on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes racked up 424 yards of total offense, 204 of which came on the ground, and it was the “Wildcat” formation, headed by sophomore running back Tyler Goodson, that came up with some pivotal plays for offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Brian Ferentz’, Kirk’s son, unit.

Sending redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Petras to the sideline, Goodson picked up 10 yards on a third-down-and-two in the first quarter and gained four yards on a second-quarter third-down to help propel Iowa to their first touchdown.

Goodson finished the day with 92 yards on 19 carries and added 16 yards on two receptions, while senior Brandon Smith was the team’s leading receiver, hauling in five passes for 58 yards.

Petras completed 18-of-28 attempts for 220 yards and three scores.

Returning to Kinnick Stadium, the Hawkeyes will host the Wisconsin Badgers (2-2) on December 12; Illinois will head to Evanston to battle Northwestern (5-1).