The Iowa Hawkeyes take the nation’s number-nine ranking into Saturday’s Big Ten opener at Michigan State. The Hawks are 4-0 after a win over Arizona State and coach Kirk Ferentz feels his team is ready for the league race. Ferentz says if you compare where they’re at now to where they were at last year, there were still a lot of questions last year. He says they seem to be a little more mentally mature than a year ago.The Hawks have combined solid defense and special teams to go along with a ball control offense to have success and Ferentz says that will need to continue. Ferentz says they have to do things together and on the same page to have a chance. He says they did that well against Arizona State.Ferentz says a new season begins this week with the start of conference play with eight very challenging games ahead of them. He says traveling to East Lansing offers a big challenge form the “git-go.” The Spartans are 3-1 under first-year coach John L. Smith