Date: September 11, 2010
Time: 2:30 PM
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Welcome to Rivalry Week here at WRNL. As you have seen throughout the rest of the week we have not spared our neighbors to the east one bit. This time of year always presents a tough spot for a Cyclone fan because our imbred Hawkeye brethren either want to give us no credit (see: 2005, 2007) or try to pretend the game is not important (see: every year). All we know is that after Saturday we embark on our respective conference paths with someone having bragging rights over the ugliest rivalry trophy this side of the Mississippi.
Settle in and get ready for the preview for the 2010 edition of the Cy-Hawk Football Game.
A History: Iowa State vs Iowa
Iowa holds the all-time series lead at 38-17. Since Iowa State broke the losing streak in 1998 the series has had a 7-5 record in favor of the Cyclones.
Last 5 Games
2009: Iowa 35, Iowa State 3
2008: Iowa 17, Iowa State 5
2007: Iowa State 15, Iowa 13
2006: Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
2005: Iowa State 23, Iowa 3
Iowa State has not won in Kinnick Stadium since the Seneca Wallace-led comeback in 2002 that resulted in a final score of 36-31 after trailing 24-7 at half.
Back it Up: Week 1 Review
Iowa State beat MAC favorite Northern Illinois 27-10 behind a solid performance from Austen Arnaud (27-36, 265 yards, 2 INT) and Alexander Robinson (19 attempts, 97 yards, 2 TD). After racing out to a 17-0 lead at halftime Iowa State let Northern Illinois back in the game before scoring twice in the 4th quarter.
Iowa beat the Illinois School for the Blind Eastern Illinois 37-7 behind a strong performance from Adam Robinson (24 attempts, 109 yards, 3 TD) and complete domination by the Iowa defense (157 total yards allowed). Iowa rushed out to a 21 point lead with two touchdown runs by Robinson and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. Iowa let off the gas late in the game but was never really threatened by the Panthers.
Iowa State Offense vs Iowa Defense
The Iowa State offense looked sharp in some areas against Northern Illinois and lacking in others. The offensive line gave Austen Arnaud ample pass protection and when the pocket did break down it never did in the middle, which allowed Arnaud to step up and run if needed. Aside from a few miscues the offensive line played about as well as expected for game one. The running game never fully worked but it was apparent from the first snap that Northern Illinois was focusing on stopping Alexander Robinson by putting 7 and 8, sometimes 9, men in the box. This allowed for the passing game to open up and Collin Franklin had a big game with 5 catches for 75 yards.
Iowa’s defense was tested very little in their victory and held Eastern Illinois to 65 yards rushing on 24 attempts. If there was one chink in Iowa’s armor it was their 7.1 avg allowed per pass and 65% completion percentage allowed.
This game will come down to who controls the line of scrimmage and if Iowa State can hold on to the ball. Giving up 6 turnovers in a game like 2009 will doom the Cyclones to a similar fate. Iowa will give up yards; it is what their defense is designed to do. On average Iowa gave up 277 yards per game in 2009. In their losses they gave up 281 and in their wins they gave up 275. They are consistent and Iowa State knows this. Finding the routes underneath the coverage and making sure to reach the red zone is the key to staying close in this game for Iowa State. Actually scoring a few touchdowns is the key to winning.
Most Intriguing Matchup: Iowa State’s offensive line vs Iowa’s defensive line
Reason: Last year the Iowa State offensive line pushed around Iowa with great success. However, the line is a year older for Iowa and more experienced so the battle should be more evenly balanced. Iowa will give up yards and Iowa State will accumulate them (303 last year). They key will be holding on to the ball and converting 6 points instead of 3 when inside the 20.
Iowa State Defense vs Iowa Offense
This matchup will determine if there is a blowout getting ready to happen or if Iowa State has a chance of pulling a late 4th quarter upset. As anyone who has watched this game in the last decade can tell you, defense rules the day to start. The key for Iowa State will be to match this mantra and keep Iowa from getting out to a quick start like they accomplished throughout 2009.
As mentioned last week, Iowa State has a talented, but inexperienced, front seven and Iowa always has a stout offensive line. Iowa State’s defensive line did a solid job keeping Northern Illinois’ offensive line off the linebackers and it allowed them to make plays in the running game. However, those same linebackers took very poor angles on more than one play and it allowed Chad Spann in to the open field more times than preferred. Play action against Iowa has the potential to end in very bad results for this defense.
Iowa does not do a lot on offense. Timing routes in the passing game, cutback running in the running game, and a healthy does of play action. What Iowa does do is execute well and that spells trouble for a young defense. Iowa will try to establish the run and if they do this offense will move the ball. If Iowa cannot establish the run then the secondary will be tested against Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt all day long. This Iowa offense may not light the world on fire with video game stats but they will execute.
Most Intriguing Matchup: Iowa State’s Secondary vs. Iowa’s Receivers
Reason: Iowa is very seasoned on offense and executed well against Eastern Illinois before letting off the gas late with two fumbles. Iowa State is still young up front and susceptible to the play action that Iowa relies upon. The veteran secondary for Iowa State will earn their chops if they can keep Johnson-Koulianos and McNutt from taking short passes to the house. Losing Ter’ran Benton for this game is less than ideal for the Cyclones.
Iowa State Special Teams vs Iowa Special Teams
With only one week to work of off it is hard to evaluate special teams to the point of determining strengths and weaknesses. The obvious area to be concerned about is the punting game for Iowa State. Northern Illinois only forced on Iowa State punt last week but it went off the side of Daniel Kuehl’s foot and sailed 18 yards downfield. Adding concern to that is Iowa’s blocked punt against Eastern Illinois and the rush Kuehl faced when he shanked his punt. If Iowa blocks one punt this weekend this game will turn south in a hurry.
Iowa had solid kickoff returns and without Jake Knott and A.J. Klein on kick coverage for Iowa State their kick coverage was lacking against Northern Illinois.
Most Intriguing Matchup: Iowa State punting vs Iowa punt coverage team
Reason: Right now Iowa has shown more consistency on special teams through one game. Longer returns, better coverage, and a blocked punt. Until Iowa State actually gets a punt that benefits their field position they will be behind in this category.
One thing comes to mind when it comes to Iowa State winning on Saturday:
Iowa State needs to be sound in their tackling, sound in their offense, and sound on special teams. If Iowa State can do that there is more than a fighting chance of winning this game. One mistake will make it tough and two mistakes will make it nearly impossible against an Iowa team that is fundamentally sound at nearly every spot on the field.
This game is likely to start out as a defensive slugfest like prior years while both teams feel the other one out. If Iowa State strikes first expect a flurry of emotions that will keep the game close barring any mistakes. If Iowa rushes out to a two touchdown lead or more expect it to get worse fast as Iowa State begins to press.
Last year Iowa State was undone by giving up big plays (two 50+ yard touchdowns against Missouri come to mind) and must not allow that to happen on Saturday. A tackle on Johnson-Koulianos and McNutt must be made immediately after a reception to limit the risk of them taking it to the end zone.
On offense Iowa State needs to go underneath early and often and mix in the run game. Iowa will give up their yards, and do so gladly, but getting in to the red zone is half the battle. Once in the red zone there can be few field goal attempts. Everything must go in to the end zone to stand a chance at surviving.
If the game reaches the 4th quarter and is closer than a touchdown get ready for some tense times. Iowa was one of the best 4th quarter teams in the country in 2009 and Iowa State has shown more fight in the 4th quarter under Paul Rhoads than at any other time in recent memory. Whoever blinks first in the 4th will be on the wrong end of the score.
Iowa State 17