Football is a team sport, so when is it ultimately ever a game of one quarterback vs. the other.
Nate Stanley will make his third start against Iowa State and play in his fourth game. He has completed a pass in all four games, unless something dramatically shifts at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday.
Nate Chandler in Ames
They all won as senior QBs over Iowa State. So, why should one pick against Nate Stanley, who is playing well entering his third game of his senior season?
For sophomore Brock Purdy, this is the biggest game in his 10 game career at Iowa State. He is an impressive 8-2 and had an impressive true freshman season.
However, lately, long-term QBs at Iowa State have been rare territory. Has Brock Purdy won the biggest games?
When has Iowa State ever won the biggest Cy-Hawk games, other than the 2002 Cy-Hawk Game in Kinnick?
Iowa State hasn't been ranked, since the 1978 game. Iowa has apparently been ranked 13 times heading into the Cy-Hawk series. In 2009, Iowa fell out of the ranking, after the UNI opener. The Hawkeyes didn't jump back into the Top 25, until after the GameDay win at Penn State.
The 2009 team was Iowa's best in the Cy-Hawk series, under Kirk Ferentz. Matt Campbell is 0-3 and his team has played one game against an FCS program to date.
Ironically, this is Iowa State’s third-straight home game against an Iowa team. ISU played Drake last Dec. 1, then opened this season against Northern Iowa. Both Cyclone games were wins, but they raised more questions than Top 25 votes.
The last win in the Cy-Hawk series was in 2014. The Cyclones won coming off a conference game. Iowa State has lost four straight coming off a scheduled game with an FCS opponent.
Something has to give on Saturday: as columnist Hlas shared, "Iowa has won its last seven road openers. Iowa State has won its last seven home games."
When it comes to defense, "Iowa State’s 188 yards at Iowa last year was the Cyclones’ lowest total in Matt Campbell’s 39 games as their coach."
Iowa has had three shutout games in their last ten conference games. Iowa won their bowl game 27-22 against a strong Mississippi State defense. Momentum likely favors the visiting team?
"Iowa is fourth nationally in total defense, yards allowed per pass attempt, and time of possession" in the early 2019 season.
Iowa's defense in 2019 has been impressive? They may be playing better as a "TEAM" compared to their strong 2018 unit lead by an array of solid seniors and two NFL draftees, who elected to forgo their senior season.
Now, Iowa State does have a good defense themselves. They have only played one game in 2 weeks. They faced a freshman UNI QB and they didn't allow a touchdown, until overtime. But, there is youth to be found in their unit.
WLB Marcel Spears is a senior. Otherwise, it is underclassmen at cornerback and in the linebacker unit. Sophomore Mike Rose played outstanding last year, as a true freshman.
For Iowa State to win, it will have to be the perfect storm?
The Cyclones are going to have to pressure Nate Stanley, who has lost five games in his career, as a starter, on the road. The two most recent were at Penn State and Purdue last year.
Stanley has lead the Hawkeyes in three trophy game victories on the road. The first, in Ames in his road debut, as a starter, in 2017. His other two wins were at Nebraska to close out 2017 and the road opener at Minnesota last year.
Stanley has lead Iowa to two bowl wins. Iowa State's last bowl win was ten years ago 14-13 over Minnesota. Iowa won the Cy-Hawk Game in Ames, in 2009, 35-3.
Other than against Wisconsin, the Hawkeyes have stepped up and won, as a team in trophy games, dating back to 2016, when Stanley arrived, as a true freshman. Iowa won all 4 trophy games in 2015.
So, winning culture favors the Hawkeyes, who have won 4 out of the 5 last games in Ames. The Cyclones last home win was a triple OT game, 44-41, in 2011.
QB Purdy and the Cyclones didn't rise to the occasion at Texas last year. In their last four games, including the Alamo Bowl loss 28-26 to Washington State, they were one possession or OT games at home:
Iowa State has lost the last two games as a +2 underdog.
Purdy did lead the Cyclones to wins last year over Top 25 Oklahoma State (on road) and West Virginia at home.
Lately, the Cyclones have played down to their opponents, rather than up?
Iowa has struggled with that issue in the early going, at times under Coach Ferentz. Since the 45-28 loss in the Gator Bowl to Tennessee in 2014, the Hawkeyes have witness a "new Kirk" with updated coaching staff of new and old faces.
This game is important. Iowa State's best seasons, over the last ten years, all came after an Iowa win in the Cy-Hawk series, for what it is worth.
If Iowa takes care of business on Saturday, we suspect it will be by the margin of Ten Points. Not a 30 plus blowout, like 2009 or 2016, but seperation enough to get a W.
Otherwise, close games are what the Cyclones have often pulled out, whether Oklahama 2017, Iowa in 2002 or other years, often against Iowa.
The only real outlier in Ames was 2005, when the Cyclones upset then #8 Iowa 23-3. The 2005 Hawkeyes were very young in the defensive line, unlike 2019.
Iowa State 17
Fight for Iowa!