It is officially rivalry week in the State of Iowa. The biggest event of the fall is upon Iowans this Saturday, and it is not even harvest season yet. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. and television sets and radios around the state will be tuned into the game of the year in Iowa: the Iowa Hawkeyes vs. the Iowa State Cyclones.
To the victor goes the Cy-Hawk Trophy and bragging rights for the rest of the year. What can fans who are removed from this rivalry expect to see?
One thing is that there will be a party going on in Ames all day long. The Cyclones will be prepared to host the Hawkeyes this year. This means that former high school classmates will be wearing contrasting team colors for the first time this fall. Families will gather to celebrate the game, but they will be families divided over their allegiance to one team or another.
Upon entering the stadium, Hawkeyes fans know what will be waiting for them: a stadium full of fans who are about to cheer the loudest they will all season long. These cheers will last the entire duration of the game and if the Cyclones prove to be victorious, the celebration will spill onto the field and continue throughout the night in Ames.
The Hawkeyes will ride into town fresh off of a much-needed victory over Missouri State where they saw their sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock show signs of improvement once again, and junior running back Mark Weisman rush for over 100 yards in the second straight game.
The Hawks and coach Kirk Ferentz will be looking to lean on their rushing game in this hostile environment — Weisman has rushed for 280 yards in two games and is averaging six yards per carry.
The Cyclones and coach Paul Rhodes will try to win their third straight Cy-Hawk Trophy on Saturday. The Cyclones had a disappointing season-opening loss to another in-state foe, the Northern Iowa Panthers. Last weekend, the Cyclones had a bye, which has allotted them two weeks of strategizing for this week’s matchup.
The Cyclones will attack the improving Iowa defense with running back Jeff Woody. Woody runs with great passion and will be fueled by the intensity of this rivalry game. Sam Richardson will quarterback the Cyclones, and he offers some big-play potential. However, we have seen very little from the quarterback this season.
All signs in this matchup seem to point towards an Iowa victory off of their power running game. Iowa also carries momentum and more experience into the game. Despite this, even the odds makers are having a hard time picking the Hawkeyes on the road. Look for the intensity of this rivalry game to keep this game close throughout.