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Iowa State Cyclones at Iowa Hawkeyes: Preview, Predictions and Prognostications

When: Sat. Sept. 10, 2016; 7:30pm ET
Where: Iowa City, Iowa; Kinnick Stadium (70,585)
TV: BTN
All-Time Series: Iowa leads, 41-22
Last Meeting: Iowa win, 31-17 (2015)
Line: Iowa -15

Things are about to get real for the Hawkeyes after a good 45-21 victory over the Miami (OH) Redhawks. It was a nice tune up, knowing what is looking good and what needs fixing. Still, this week is a unique one as in-state rival Iowa State comes to town.

Cliché as it might be, records and previous performances can be thrown out the window. There is no rivalry game that a Big Ten team plays that is more unpredictable and crazy than this one. Despite the disparity in where these two teams are, head coach Kirk Ferentz knows all too well that this game can provide plenty of challenges for his Hawkeyes team. What will the

 

1 Burning Question: Does new coaching staff at Iowa State mean changes in this rivalry?

By now it has been well documented that there isn’t a single team on planet earth that Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz hates to play more than Iowa State. Despite the disparity between the two teams in terms of talent, status in their respective leagues and in college football in general, Iowa State owns a 9-8 advantage over Iowa in the Ferentz era.

It hasn’t mattered much who that head coach is either. Ferentz was 3-5 all-time against Dan McCarney (1999- 2006), 1-1 against Gene Chizik (2007-08), and 4-3 against Paul Rhoads (2009-15). Even Gene freakin’ Chizik was able to get a win against Ferentz. That’s how insane this matchup has been…

Now it is Matt Campbell taking over for Paul Rhoads and will the Cyclones still have Ferentz’s number? One game may not make or break that idea, but getting off to a winning start and sending their in-state rivals to an 0-2 start isn’t a bad way to introduce Campbell to the rivalry if you’re the Hawkeyes.

2 Key Stats:

— 4. The visiting team has won four straight games in the Cy-Hawk Series. As we’ve been saying, this game is very crazy and the fact that home field advantage has literally meant nothing is all the proof one needs. Still, Kinnick is a difficult place to play and Iowa holds a 23-14 lead in the all-time series at home. Will it be five straight for the visiting team, or will Iowa finally figure out how to beat the Cyclones at home?

— 8-0. That is Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard’s record in home games. In trying to figure out who wins this game, it is wise to figure out the quarterback play. Beathard has taken on some of the toughest challenges in his career at home and come away winners every time. There’s something to be said for that and Beathard’s comfort playing at home in this matchup.

3 Key Players:

Allen Lazard, Iowa State WR: While a lot of attention will be on Big 12 Freshman of the Year running back Mike Warren, the real key to success is going to wide receiver Allen Lazard. He simply is the best player on the field when Iowa State is on offense (on either team on the field at the time, sorry Desmond King). Matching up with King and winning that matchup at key moments is going to be crucial to whatever level of success the cyclones will have.

Akrum Wadley, Iowa RB: Iowa State gave up 232 total yards rushing to Northern Iowa. Leading the way was Aaron Bailey with 114 yards. This game is likely to come down to a matchup of running games, and you have to like Wadley’s chances against ISU’s putrid run defense (which has been an issue the last few years to begin with). After all, Wadley went for 121 yards and a pair of scores against an allegedly better Miami (OH) team.

Joel Lanning, Iowa State QB: Simply put, it was an ugly start to the season for the Cyclones junior signal caller. While he completed 63.4 percent of his passes against UNI, he did throw a pair of picks against the Panthers and the Hawkeyes secondary is way better than anything UNI could put on the field. Should ISU actually have a chance of winning, Lanning has to make better overall decisions and has to make them quicker. Otherwise, look for Jacob Park to get a solid look in this game.

4 Bold Prognostications:

— Jacob Park Will Be Iowa State’s Answer at QB: Head coach Matt Campbell loves the future with Jacob Park at quarterback, and that future could come as quickly as this week. Campbell noted he regrets not getting Park involved last week, but I also have a feeling that Lanning can’t control the turnovers and Campbell won’t put up with that for very long. It means Park gets plenty of looks and he’ll be the one at QB by hook or crook as the game finishes. 

— Markell Jones rushes for 200+ yards. After a solid opening game effort of nearly 150 yards, look for Jones to hit another gear against this suspect UC defense. A couple of big runs will build up the average per carry numbers, but Jones will be the primary workhorse of this game and the cornerstone of Purdue’s drive for bowl eligibility this season. If this occurs, Jones will already have nearly half of his yardage totals from 2015, when he led the team in rushing by a wide margin.

— Mike Warren has more yards than Akrum Wadley: Sorry, not sorry on this one. Warren is an elite running back and Wadley is still working his way to being a very good one. Let’s also remember that Iowa gave up 158 yards on the ground to a not-so-good Redhawks program last week. All of it adds up to Warren coming out on top in the battle of two intriguing running backs. 

— Iowa gets a defensive touchdown: There is no more intriguing single matchup than Iowa CB Desmond King vs. ISU WR Allen Lazard. You can expect to see those two lined up across from each other almost all game long.

Given that battle and Lanning’s ability to turn the ball over, I’m guessing King reads an outside route, jumps it and scores a defensive touchdown. The bigger question is if it will be enough to get Iowa over the finish line. 

5 Staff Predictions:

Andy: Iowa State 31-28 (come on, you expect a Cyclone to pick anything else)
Dave: Iowa 26-23
Phil H.: Iowa 31-27
Philip R.: Iowa 42-13
Zach: Iowa 34-13

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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