IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - After 102 years, Missouri State finally faced a Big Ten opponent.
For a fleeting moment in the fourth quarter, the Bears nearly had a shot at a win too.
Jake Rudock and Mark Weisman each ran for a pair of touchdowns and Iowa beat Missouri State 28-14 on Saturday, snapping a seven-game losing streak dating back to 2012.
Weisman had 180 yards rushing for the Hawkeyes (1-1), who needed a late drive to put away the Bears (0-2).
Weisman scored on runs of 10 and 3 yards to help the Hawkeyes take a 21-0 lead late in the third quarter. But Missouri State answered with touchdowns on back-to-back plays from scrimmage early in the fourth quarter, pulling within 21-14 with 14:15 to go.
Rudock's 2-yard TD run put Iowa back ahead 28-14, and Tanner Miller sealed it with an interception in the end zone with 6:50 left.
Kierra Harris threw for 127 yards and a TD for Missouri State (0-2), which converted just 1 of 10 chances on third down.
"We obviously didn't move the ball very well offensively in the first half. But our kids came to play," Missouri State coach Terry Allen said. "They took it to us in the fourth quarter. They won the physical battle. But we didn't sit down."
Even though the Hawkeyes had some early issues on offense, they still looked set to cruise to their first win in 11 months at the outset of the fourth quarter.
Ten seconds and 14 points later, Iowa found itself in a game that was suddenly much closer than it should have been.
The Bears finally got on the board with 14:25 left, as Julian Burton beat freshman cornerback Desmond King on a 27-yard TD reception. Rudock opened Iowa's next drive with a pass that was picked off by linebacker Rique Bentley, who took it back 28 yards for a TD.
Iowa answered with a 65-yard touchdown drive that consumed more than four minutes, and Miller's pick preserved some much-needed breathing room for the Hawkeyes.
"Had we not gotten the interception for the touchdown, it would not have been a game. We did, but then they kind of imposed their will on us again," Allen said.
Iowa's defense looked strong, holding the Bears to just 197 yards. But Iowa still led just 7-0 at halftime over a Missouri Valley Football school with just five wins over the past two seasons.
Iowa was plagued by dropped passes, negative rushes and a 33-yard missed field goal from Mike Meyer, usually a reliable kicker. The Hawkeyes had just one drive of note in the first half, a 69-yarder that ended with a 6-yard TD run from Rudock.
The Hawkeyes then drove to the Missouri State 2-yard line to open the second half, only to watch Weisman get stuffed on 4th-down-and-1.
Weisman redeemed himself a few minutes later, scoring from 10 yards out to give Iowa a 14-0 lead. Rudock then threw a perfect ball to George Kittle for a 47-yard reception, helping set up Weisman's second TD of the day.
Rudock threw for 193 yards in his second career start, but he could only find the end zone with his feet.
Though the Hawkeyes outgained Missouri State by nearly 300 yards, the Bears make them work for their first victory since last October.
"We thought we could compete with them, and I thought we did," Allen said.