It may not be an overstatement to say that the upcoming Cy-Hawk game is the most anticipated regular-season game this campus has ever seen. With each team likely to be sitting in the top 15 and ESPN’s legendary College GameDay program setting up on the steps of Jack Trice, this in-state rivalry may never get to a more exciting stage.
Just as many would like to jump to this Saturday, some have chosen to jump to conclusions about the outcome. Iowa’s rout of ranked Indiana and State's forgettable show against UNI have led some to foolishly think Iowa will run away with this game, but this simply ignores many of the circumstances that the teams faced in week one.
I am comfortable saying that watching Iowa State face UNI was boring. The 36 percent third-down conversion rate and single Cyclone touchdown did not provide much motivation to get on my feet. The play calling seemed to shy away from what I see as the team's strength of stretching and extending the field, and inside zones with Breece Hall were plentiful. To some, it may look like the supposedly electric Iowa State offense lost its sparkle.
However, Matt Campbell did not spontaneously lose his wits. In fact, I believe the stagnant offense was a symptom of his game plan. We have seen before that he will stick to page one of the playbook in early season games, so why would he break from that to donate Iowa valuable film while playing a directional FCS team? He wouldn't and didn't. I truly believe that the bone dry offense was part of a larger plan to keep future opponents, mainly Iowa, in the dark about our expanded playbook.
Meanwhile, the defense picked up where it left off and balled out once again. Defensive Coordinator Jon Heacock's increasingly popular 3-3-5 held directional FCS to just 10 points with a shutout in the second half. That was the squad's seventh straight game allowing 10 or fewer second-half points. Two interceptions helped the Cyclones suffocate the opponent.
Now, to look at Iowa. Indiana made Iowa look great. I think they are just good. Good teams take advantage of opportunities, which Iowa did, but boy did Indiana hand them a lot of opportunities.
More than half of Iowa running back Tyler Goodson's 99 yards came on a first-quarter touchdown run to the outside. This lane was opened up by Indiana's only outside contain player fully committing to the side for some unimaginable reason. I would not like to be him on film day. The Hoosiers also committed seven penalties, taking 67 yards from themselves. The biggest gift Indiana gave out was MULTIPLE pick-sixes to Iowa safety Riley Moss. One was even off the hands of a friendly receiver as a bow on top.
This is not to sound like 2015 Colin Cowherd and say that the Hawkeyes are fakers, but it is to point out that Iowa will not be dealing with such beneficial outliers in each game. There will not be 14, or arguably 21 free points given out by each opponent, and it is to say that the lopsided win over the No.17 team likely exaggerates their capabilities, as they should not have been number No.17.
So, as some (Iowa fans) jump up to predict a blowout, I see hugely exaggerated analyses of each team. All we have seen, in my opinion, is a suppressed Iowa State team and an exaggerated Iowa team. This upcoming contest should see each team show its true colors, and we can hope for an all-time win for Iowa State.