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Odds presented by: DraftKings Sportsbook
|Iowa Hawkeyes||+4.5 (-115)
|O 45 (-110)
|Iowa State Cyclones||-4.5 (-105)
|U 45 (-110)
It’s one of the worst cliches in sports but we’re going to say it– throw the record books out during this rivalry game. Iowa looked great in week one. Iowa State looked, pedestrian. Doesn’t matter, both will be ready to play in this one. Is veteran Brock Purdy savvy enough to solve this Iowa defense? Can Iowa’s offense actually move the ball on its own — not just when its defense sets it up. Because rivalry games lend themselves to be low scoring, this one favors Iowa, that said with ESPN’s College Gameday on hand, the environment will be raucous. Even still, though I can’t quite say they will win, I like Iowa State to cover the spread and the under.
There might not be a hotter team in terms of who opened more eyes in Week 1 than Iowa. The Hawkeyes thoroughly manhandled an Indiana team coming off its best season in decades, by the final score of 34-6.
However, for all the hype coming out of that week, people seem to be overlooking the fact that Iowa’s offense looked like, well, Iowa’s offense. Through the air, Spencer Petras was pedestrian at best, completing 13-of-27 passes for 154 yards with no touchdowns and no turnovers.
It’s not unexpected that Iowa’s passing attack isn’t clicking on all cylinders — it’s replacing two of the better receivers of the Kirk Ferentz Era in Brandon Smith and Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
The Hawkeyes weren’t much better on the ground. As a team, Iowa ran the ball 36 times for 158 yards — fewer than 4.4 yards per carry. That said, Tyler Goodson was across the 100-yard mark before a few garbage time carries that resulted in yards for loss brought him down to 99 on the day.
Meanwhile, in Ames the sky is falling, or so the fans think. Iowa State came into the season ranked No. 8 in the country with one of the hottest coaches in Matt Campbell who just signed an extension worth a gazillion dollars (or close to it).
Instead of a coronation, they got disappointed. The Cyclones scored one touchdown on the day, wholly underwhelming in a 16-10 victory over Northern Iowa. That said, the Cyclones defense did have a nice day, led by linebacker Mike Rose with 11 tackles including 1.5 for loss and two quarterback hurries. But it was the rush defense that really won the day.
The Cyclones allowed just 45 yards on 26 carries — or 1.8 per attempt — and it’s the Iowa rushing attack vs. Cyclone defense that’s likely going to determine who wins this game.
Iowa has held its opponents to 25 points or fewer for 25 consecutive games — the longest such streak in the country. Based on both of these teams’ week one performances, it is admittedly a little hard to see that changing.
Take the Hawkeyes defense for example. Last week they held Indiana — a team that was one of the best offenses in the Big Ten in 2020 — to just six total points. Not to mention, they came up with three interceptions including two pick-sixes by Riley Moss.
For all its hype coming into the season, Iowa State’s offense didn’t impress. Purdy went 21-of-26 but managed just 199 yards. Somehow, the rushing attack was even more lackluster.
Iowa State tallied 136 yards on 34 carries — exactly four yards per attempt — as a team. Running back Breece Hall led the way with 23 rushes for 69 yards (just three yards per attempt) and a score. This was unbelievably surprising, considering many picked him to finish as the conference’s leading rusher.
Purdy did however add nine rushes for 58 yards — and it’s his dual-threat ability that needs to be watched in this game. If Iowa can contain Purdy and make him win with his arm, then it might be a long day for SU.
The X-factor for Iowa has to come on the offensive side of the ball because if anything holds this team back, it’s going to be that side of the ball. That’s why we’re looking at Tyrone Tracy Jr..
A junior receiver from Indianapolis, Tracy was projected to be the No. 1 wide receiver on the team, yet he finished with just two catches for 15 yards a week ago. If that’s his final line again this week, it’s unlikely the Hawkeyes win.
For Iowa State, it’s not a player, but a position: kicker.
Iowa State has long had issues generating touchbacks, bottom five in all of the college football since 2012, a major reason they brought in graduate transfer Andrew Melvis. He also appears to be the “long-distance field goal kicker” going 1-of-1 from 41 yards on Saturday.
Veteran and former walk-on Connor Assalley also plays a role; he went 2-for-2 with his leg, one from 35 yards and the other from 21.
|Iowa Hawkeyes vs Iowa State Cyclones Information|
|Teams||No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes at No. 7 Iowa State Cyclones|
|Location||Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa|
|Time||Saturday, Sept. 11, 4:30 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ABC|
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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