On Saturday afternoon, the No. 9-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes will play its instate rival, the Iowa State Cyclones. The winner will take home the Cy-Hawk award and fans will have an opportunity to regionally watch the game on ABC at 2:30 central time.
Both teams enter Saturday’s game undefeated. Last weekend, the Hawkeyes handily defeated the Eastern Illinois Panthers 37-7 and the Cyclones beat the Northern Illinois Huskies, 27-10.
While the Hawkeyes are favored to win, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said earlier this week at his press conference, “This is obviously a big game for both teams. You look back at the series, they have been tough games, competitive games and I expect this weekend to be the same. Iowa State has a lot of returning players back, a lot of experienced, confident players, and I think most importantly, they have made great strides in the program.”
Last year, the Hawkeyes beat the Cyclones, 35-3 after Iowa State turned the ball over seven times (five interceptions and two fumbles).
What to look for this week? The Hawkeyes hope to see the return of some key players: running back Jewel Hampton, defensive end Broderick Binns, center Josh Koeppel, possibly linebacker Jeff Tarpinian, cornerback Shaun Prater and offensive lineman Adam Gettis.
Hampton returns after taking a year off due to injury and will share running back duties with Adam Robinson. Last week against the Panthers, Robinson scored three touchdowns and rushed for over 100 yards. With Hawkeye running back Brandon Wegher still MIA, it will be interesting to not only see Robinson and Hampton play together but also watch Hampton’s level of play after he missed last season.
Another question to ask, will Robinson continue to be the workhorse?
Also sharing the same last name and position, Cyclones running back Alexander Robinson should keep the Iowa run defense on its toes. Last week Robinson gained 97 yards on 19 carriers with two touchdowns.
On the quarterback front, there’s no worries Hawkeye Nation. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi will be starting for this week’s game. After very briefly leaving last week with a knee injury, Stanzi returned and completed the first game of the season. Stanzi’s minor knee sprain reportedly only caused him some pain on Saturday and by Sunday, the quarterback supposedly was good to go.
In other news, Iowa’s senior running back Paki O’Meara was named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. After blocking a Panther punt, O’Meara returned it for 42 yards for a touchdown. This score enabled the Hawkeyes to take a 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
What will we see from O’Meara this week?
And on the kicker front for Iowa, Daniel Murray was absent earlier this week from the depth chart. He is nursing a strained hip flexor. Maybe the kicker competition will finally settle down this week?
One final note. With the realignment of the Big Ten and the addition of Nebraska to Big Ten Nation, will Saturday’s game be the last for this instate rivalry? Ferentz publicly said he hopes the annual game doesn’t go away and I imagine the state of Iowa doesn’t either.
Iowa’s captains for the game include Stanzi, offensive guard Julian Vandervelde, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and defensive tackle Karl Klug.
About the Author
Written by Debbie Baratz