September 13, 2013

The Breakdown

The Hawkeyes and the Cyclones renew their annual rivalry late Saturday afternoon with the Cy-Hawk Trophy once again on the line. Both teams come into the game with one loss and a victory would be very important for both schools bowl chances later this season. Will the Hawkeyes win on the road? Can the Cyclones run their winning streak in the series to three in a row?


KICKOFF TIME: 5:05 p.m.
TICKETS: The game is sold out.
TV: Fox Sports 1. Justin Kutcher, James Bates, and Brady Poppinga on the call.
LAST MEETING: Iowa State won 9-6 last year in Iowa City.
WEATHER: Partly Cloudy skies and temps in the low 70's are expected.
THE LINE: Iowa is favored by 2 points. Over/Under of 48.
THE HISTORY: Iowa holds a 39-21 advantage in the series. Iowa State has won the last two meetings. Last time the two schools met in Ames, Iowa State won in triple overtime, 44-41. Iowa is 2-6 in games played at Iowa State under Kirk Ferentz.


Iowa rush offense vs. Iowa State defense

The Hawkeyes have run the ball very well in the first two games over the season. Iowa is averaging 250 yards per game on the ground, including rushing for 296 yards last weekend against Missouri State. Mark Weisman is leading the way for Iowa's rushing attack, averaging 140 yards per game. Iowa is averaging over 80 plays per game and they have run the ball an average of 50 times per game, so it's no secret that the Hawkeyes will rely on their ground game to move the football.

The sample size is only one game, but it wasn't a pretty result for the Iowa State defense against the run. The Cyclones gave up 228 yards rushing to Northern Iowa in their opening game loss to the Panthers. UNI's David Johnson accounted for 199 of those yards. Basically, Iowa State did a very poor job of stopping the run.

Iowa State will certainly stack the box on Saturday to try and stop Iowa's run game, but on paper, Iowa should be able to run the ball well with Weisman, Bullock, Daniels, and Canzeri getting the bulk of the work. ADVANTAGE: IOWA

Iowa pass offense vs. Iowa State pass defense

While there have been a fair share of drops from the Iowa receivers, Jake Rudock has done a pretty solid job thru two games of throwing the football. Sure he has two costly interceptions that he will need to avoid repeating this weekend, but overall his numbers are very solid and a step in the right direction from last year's offense.

The one positive for the Iowa State secondary is they have plenty of experience with three senior starters. But, they aren't very big and they did give up nearly eight yards per pass and two touchdowns in the opener against UNI.

If Iowa State sells out and stacks the box to stop Iowa's rushing attack, then expect to see the Hawkeyes try to test their corners coverage skills. It's a perfect storm for the play action game, as long as the Cyclones aren't bringing a blitz. If they are in a blitz, then Iowa should look for quick passes in the flat or screens that could yield the explosive plays that Greg Davis has talked about a number of times. ADVANTAGE: SLIGHTLY TO IOWA.

Iowa State rush offense vs. Iowa run defense

If you eliminate running plays by their quarterback, Iowa State's rushing attack in their opening game was basically pretty limited. Their running backs ran for just 94 yards on 23 carries and had no run longer than 10 yards. It should be noted that quarterback Sam Richardson did run for 74 yards on 21 attempts, which is a lot of rushes from any signal caller.

Iowa did a nice job of handling a pair of mobile quarterbacks in terms of running the football thru two games. Jordan Lynch was held to 56 yards on 22 carries in the opener. Thru two games, Iowa has given up 116 yards per game on the ground and the average yards per carry is at 3.6, which isn't bad.

Basically, based on the numbers, it would be a pretty big surprise to see the Cyclones make a lot of hay on the ground against the Iowa defense and on paper, Iowa certainly has to feel good about their chances of stuff the run on Saturday. ADVANTAGE: IOWA

Iowa State's passing game vs. Iowa pass defense

This is the area of concern for the Iowa defense. Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson was 22-32 for 242 yards and two touchdowns in their opening game. He also shared the wealth in the first game with nine different receivers catching a pass. The Cyclones aren't afraid to take shots down the field and work the middle of the field, which has been a weak spot for the Iowa defense in the first two games of the 2013 season.

Iowa's pass defense is only giving up 201 yards per game thru the air, but Missouri State really didn't have a quarterback that could throw the ball effectively. If you look at the game against Northern Illinois, they threw for 275 yards and had three touchdowns against the Iowa secondary. There were probably some plays that Missouri State missed last Saturday that Iowa State won't this weekend. ADVANTAGE: ISU


Despite a missed field goal last week, Iowa's Mike Meyer has been a consistent performer and he has added distance to his kickoffs this season. Connor Kornbrath has been ok as a punter, but still hasn't reached the level of consistency that the Iowa coaches would like from him. Iowa's return game has been spotty and the coverage teams have been a true mixed bag in terms of results.

Iowa State used two place kickers in their opener. Edwin Arceo missed two longer attempts and Cole Netten made two shorter attempts. Probably still up in the air as to who gets the call on Saturday, but it seems like they are trending towards Netten. If there is one big advantage on special teams, it might be with Cyclone punter Kirby Van Der Kamp, who is one of the best in the nation. In the opener, he averaged just under 45 yards per punt. Overall, probably a slight lean towards Iowa State on special teams. ADVANTAGE: SLIGHT ISU


On paper it would appear that Iowa should win this football game. As we all know, football games aren't played on paper and winning in Ames has proved to be very difficult for the Hawkeye. Even much more talented teams have lost in Ames to Iowa State. But, based on their opening game, Iowa State isn't the same team Iowa fans have seen the past few years and they sure miss Klein and Knott at linebacker. Having said all that, I expect both teams to score quite a few points. I think both offense will have a healthy day and we could see both teams reach the 30 point mark. Iowa has to prove that they can go on the road and win a football game. I'm just not sure they are ready to do it yet. Iowa State 34 Iowa 31. My pick to click this week is Jake Rudock, who throws for three touchdown passes and over 250 yards.

Our experts give their predictions and picks to click:

RDIETZ: Iowa State 24 Iowa 21. Christian Kirksey with a defensive score.
TORBEE: Iowa 28 Iowa State 10. Mark Weisman goes for more than 150 yards.
JON LAZAR: Iowa 27 Iowa State 24.
JORDAN GARRETTSON: Iowa 17 Iowa State 14. Mark Weisman gets it done.
LYLE HAMMES: Iowa 28 Iowa State 27. Carl Davis comes up big with a sack.
JOHN KERTH: Iowa 27 Iowa State 21. Mark Weisman with 130 yards and 2 TD's.

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