An in-state rivalry has its next chapter on Saturday when the Iowa Hawkeyes travel to face the Iowa State Cyclones in a non-conference matchup. Iowa has won four straight matchups between the schools, claiming the Cy-Hawk Trophy which goes to the annual contest’s winner.
Coming off a 9-4 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes enter their biggest rivalry matchup against Iowa State. They enter the game 2-0 after defeating Miami of Ohio and Rutgers and are now ranked No. 19 in the nation.
Iowa is averaging 34 points per game while allowing just seven after shutting out Rutgers in their last game. They are posting 451.1 total yards per week while allowing 185. They have outmatched their opponent the first two weeks, and, while they are still favored in this game, it should be their toughest matchup so far.
Under center for Iowa is their senior quarterback Nate Stanley. Stanley has had a great start to the season, throwing for 488 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions over the first two games. The Cyclones are allowing 228 passing yards per game, so as long Stanley can avoid mistakes, this should be an opportunity for another big performance.
Getting it done for Iowa in the running game has been Mekhi Sargent. The junior running back has 150 yards and one touchdown off 27 attempts over their first two games of the season. If the Hawkeyes can get out to an early lead, Sargent should be a reliable back to maintain possession and control the clock.
Iowa will be the away team in this game despite staying in the same state. On the road last year the Hawkeyes went 3-2, losing to tough teams like Penn State and Purdue. When they were at home against Iowa State last season, they were able to get the win in a low-scoring 13-3 game.
The Cyclones come into this game 1-0 after surviving an overtime thriller against Northern Iowa in their first game two weeks ago. Iowa State walked away with a 29-26 victory in the third overtime to avoid an upset and start their season on the right foot.
In their opener, Iowa State allowed 228 passing yards and 34 rushing yards. They were able to put up 463 total yards themselves. They are coming off an 8-5 season where they were able to compete in just about every game but were not up to the task against ranked opponents.
Starting at quarterback for Iowa State is Brock Purdy. Purdy was a true freshman last year and had a solid start to his college career. He completed 66 percent of his pass attempts with 2,250 yards, 16 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He will look to build off his freshman season this year, and after a 278-yard, two-touchdown performance in the opener, he is off to a good start.
Sophomore Johnnie Lang will be the leading force in the run game for the Cyclones this season. In the first game, Lang got just 14 carries for 60 yards but was left without a touchdown. Lang could be in for a more significant workload in this game to maintain possession and keep Iowa’s offense off the field.
Iowa State will be at home for this game and, despite Iowa being favored, a rivalry game typically brings out the most both teams have to offer. Look for the Cyclones to come out fired up and with a complete game plan to keep this one close to the end.
What To Expect
Like most big college rivalry games, this one should be a battle from start to finish. Look for ISU to keep this one close all game long and force Iowa into some uncharacteristic mistakes. While I do think this will be closer than you might expect, I still think Iowa outmatches its opponent and will come away with the win.