5 bold predictions for Iowa-Iowa State
This isn’t just the first time Iowa and Iowa State are meeting as Top 10 teams. It’s the first time the Cy-Hawk Trophy will be decided by two ranked teams — ever.
The Cyclones were close in 2019, but fell out of the rankings in game week after being unimpressive (to the voters, of course) against Northern Iowa. They dropped again in the same scenario this week, but remained in the Top 10, one spot ahead of their rivals. See how that preseason poll magic works?
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes impressed with a dominant win over a team ranked one spot ahead of them. Below are 5 bold predictions on how they’ll do it again Saturday.
“It’ll probably be 48-41 again, one of those deals, but I don’t see that coming,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Neither do I:
Not as close as the score indicates
If you think the rankings would make a good prediction of the final score — Iowa 10, Iowa State 9 — no one would blame you. Chances are, it won’t be that low. Still, the bold prediction here is that the final score will look good on paper, but not necessarily on the field.
“I can’t remember this not being a tough game, but I can go back to the ’80s and there were a couple that weren’t so tough,” Ferentz said this week.
Time to make a memory. Iowa will control the game throughout with elite punting (yeah, I led with that), defense that bends more than expected — but still doesn’t break — and a surprisingly explosive (at times) offense. This one will be decided before the last play, but in between kickoff and the final horn will be glorious field position battles.
Iowa’s offense carries the day
That’s right: The Iowa offense will turn heads while the defense will be average. Of course, an average day for the Hawks might be giving up 24 points. Actually, no. That’s the worst number they’ve given up in 23 tries. There’s no time to calculate the mean, median or mode, so let’s boldly put it at 12 — give or take a point. Iowa will top that — and has in every game in the Cy-Hawk series since 2012.
Tyler Goodson breaks out
It’s not a matter of if, but when. It will be Saturday. There’s no better time than in front of a national TV audience with the premier pregame show on campus. He started with a 56-yard run and ended with 99 yards last week. He has 8 touchdowns and is averaging just under 110 yards per game (6 per carry) during Iowa’s 7-game winning streak. This time Goodson finds the end zone at least twice and goes well past 100 yards.
No Hawkeyes turnovers
The game might be ugly, but it won’t be sloppy. Iowa lost the ball twice in the opener and Ferentz made it a point of emphasis at his news conference this week.
“There’s a million things they can work on, and usually they’re just fundamental things that you hope guys do a better job this week in practice being mindful of some little things they can clean up,” Ferentz said. “Then you hope there’s a cumulative effect by doing things better — more quality fashion over a series of weeks — and that’s how you develop good habits out there and good fundamentals.”
Iowa cleans it up and holds on to the ball.
A punt will be blocked
Iowa hasn’t blocked a punt since A.J. Epenesa did it at Illinois almost 3 years ago. I’ve got a feeling the Hawkeyes are due.
And since we’ve brought it back to punting, we’ll let the music play us off with this ode to Iowa’s punter:
“Tory Taylor, just to mention a guy who’s a good football player and had a good season last year, first time he’s played in front of a crowd. Some little things that you kind of forget about,” Ferentz said. “We’re certainly glad that Tory is with us.”
That happiness will only escalate after Saturday.