The college football season is finally underway, so we’ll get you caught up on some of the big matchups around the nation in Week 2.
Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) vs Iowa State Cyclones (1-0)
@ Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, IA
How to Watch:
- Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
- Channel: Big Ten Network
- Spread: Iowa -3.5 (-114)
- Over/Under: 40.5 (-110)
One of the biggest games of the year is already approaching. Or at least one of the biggest games for football fans in the state of Iowa. The annual Cy-Hawk series is set to take place in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, and both teams have a lot riding on the game.
For the first time since 2018, the Cy-Hawk game will return to Kinnick Stadium after COVID-19 canceled the last meeting. Historically, Iowa has dominated the series, with the Cyclones only having five wins in Iowa City since 1998.
The last time the Cyclones took home the trophy was in 2014, with the Hawkeyes taking the last six games in a row. Not only that, Iowa State hasn’t forced a turnover in nearly as long, with the last fumble coming in 2015. Iowa also leads the all-time series with a 46-22 record.
On paper, Iowa has dominated the series, though the games seem much closer most of the time. Many nail-biting finishes and overtime triumphs scatter across the meetings, and this year should be no different. Although Iowa State hasn’t pulled out a win against Iowa in the Matt Campbell era, the team’s season openers shed light on what could be a dramatic return to Iowa City.
For starters, the Hawkeyes have the chance to prove that the rocky-season opener was just a fluke. A nail-biting 7-3 victory is less than ideal for an Iowa team that has tried to be perennially competitive. This is especially true when they faced off against a South Dakota State team, which shouldn’t have been much of a challenge.
The Hawkeyes will have to figure out their offensive struggles to prove that they are here to compete. Bad would be sugar-coating it, as Iowa had just over 100 yards in the air and averaged under two yards a carry on the ground. The offense only contributed three of the seven points on the day.
Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz still has faith in Spencer Petras at quarterback, though his performance left much to be desired. Petras’ 1.1 quarterback rating put him well outside the top 100 quarterbacks in college football so far this season. Petras will need to figure out his issues if the Hawkeyes plan to take down a potentially high-powered Iowa State offense.
On the other side, Iowa State showed very promising signs in its season opener. New starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers shocked the college football world with his four-touchdown game, where he looked nearly perfect. Also, wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson had one of the best receiving games of the week in college football with 128 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cyclones also had no problem moving the ball on the ground, with new starting running back Jirehl Brock averaging 6.5 yards per carry and various other running backs getting reps in the backfield, such as Eli Sanders, Deon Silas and Cartevious Norton before his injury.
The main concern for the Cyclones will be the defense doing their job on Saturday. In the matchup with Southeast Missouri State, the Redhawks didn’t have much trouble marching down the field, getting within Cyclone territory on numerous occasions. The Redhawks weren’t able to capitalize on most of the chances they got, coming out of the game with just 10 points. The Iowa State defense did a great job of clutching up when the time came for it, but the slow starts to the drives might allow the Hawkeyes to get in the groove on Saturday.
Although recent years have made it easy to write off the Cyclones before the Cy-Hawk game has even been played, the scenario has shifted quite a bit this year. With the spread on the game dropping from 6.5 to 3.5 in Iowa’s favor, it seems that a close game could be at hand. When it comes down to it, both teams have a lot on the table and are looking to make Saturday a competitive game to watch.
Players to Know:
Hunter Dekkers – Iowa State, QB
2022 season stats: 293 yards, four touchdowns, one interception
Dekkers had a lot to prove against Southeast Missouri State. It was his first career start, and he was following a Cyclone legend at quarterback in Brock Purdy. With all the lights on him, Dekkers did not disappoint.
Dekkers nearly doubled his 2021 season stats in just one game. He was the first quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in his first career start in over 20 years. Now with Iowa around the corner, Dekkers has the task of proving that his first start wasn’t an outlier. If he is as talented as Matt Campbell expects, the stout Hawkeyes defense shouldn’t be too big of a hurdle.
2022 season stats: 104 yards, one touchdown, 6.5 yards per attempt
After the impressive David Montgomery and Breece Hall eras, there were major questions about if the running back room could live up to the high standards set in the past. Brock did his best to answer those questions with his performance against Southeast Missouri State. After a quiet first half, Brock came out strong in the second, putting up over 100 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 16 attempts.
The biggest skill Brock showed in his debut was his speed, quickness, and explosiveness. Now with backup running back Cartevious Norton most likely out for Saturday’s game, Brock should get more chances to show off his talents. The biggest question mark against Iowa will be how the Cyclones’ offensive line handles the Hawkeyes’ defensive line. The Iowa defense looked stellar in the low-scoring win against South Dakota State, so it will be interesting to see how Brock handles the pressure.
2022 season stats: 68 receiving yards, five receptions, 11 rushing yards
For a lack of better words, the Iowa offense was not good against South Dakota State. They struggled on the ground and in the air, so finding highlights on the offense was a tough ask. With quarterback Spencer Petras finishing the game with a 1.1 quarterback rating and the running back room averaging 1.6 yards a carry, the only real winner on the day was Bruce.
With how banged up the wide receiver room was entering the season, Bruce got his chance in the starting spot, and he didn’t disappoint. He caught nearly half of Petras’ completions for 68 of the 109 total receiving yards on the day. To add to that, Bruce also ripped off an 11-yard run. With receivers such as Keagan Johnson and Nico Ragaini still expected to miss time on Saturday, Bruce is in a prime position to be Petras’ safety net yet again.
Jack Campbell – Iowa, LB
2022 season stats: 11 tackles, four solo tackles, 0.5 tackles for a loss
Iowa’s 7-3 win over South Dakota State was mainly due to the lights-out play of the defense. The defense scored more points than the offense in a game that saw not one but two safeties. Of those two safeties, Campbell had the first. The linebacker was efficient all over the field, racking up a team-leading 11 tackles on the day and helping keep the South Dakota State offense to just one field goal.
It was clear coming into the year that Campbell would be a main contributor on the defense, as he amassed 140 tackles in 2021. If Iowa wants to keep a lid on Brock’s powerful running, Campbell will need to be on point on Saturday. It was also hard putting Campbell above his teammate Joe Evans, who was the other player to get a safety and had two sacks on the day. Campbell should be in a more prime position to make an impact since Dekkers could prove too elusive for the Iowa defensive ends.
- Jake Remsburg, Iowa State OL: Undisclosed injury. Questionable for Saturday.
- Cartevious Norton, Iowa State RB: Leg injury. Doubtful for Saturday.
- Keagan Johnson, Iowa wide receiver: Unknown injury. Out for Saturday.
- Nico Ragaini, Iowa wide receiver: Medical issue. Questionable for Saturday.
- Jestin Jacobs, Iowa linebacker: Soft tissue knee injury. Out for Saturday.
- Jermari Harris, Iowa cornerback: Undisclosed issue. Doubtful for Saturday.