|Iowa's Kirk Ferentz heading into the 26th game of the Cy-Hawk Series on|
Saturday, while it will be the 12th game for his Cyclone counterpart, Paul Rhoads.
Ferentz says the Cyclones are a tale of two cities.
|Iowa senior DE 95 Drew Ott tackling ISU QB 12 Sam B.|
Richardson, in last year's game in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes
new starting DT 67 Jaleel Johnson, a junior, will play an important
role on the inside of the Iowa defense in this year's game.
Offensively, Iowa State is a veteran group with a senior quarterback in Sam B. Richardson, a three-year starter, with 27 career starts, while the receiving corps returns three players that have posted 40-catch seasons. Defensively, the Cyclones revamped unit courtesy of the junior college ranks, with ten JUCO players in the two-deep.
"Offensively, they are settling into what they're doing and have an identity," said Ferentz. "Defensively, there is an injection of good energy, and they played well (against UNI)."
Ferentz says Iowa will have its hands full with the Cyclones' receivers -- a group that lines up 6-foot-6 (D'Vario Montgomery), 6-foot-2 (Quenton Bundrage), and 6-foot-5 (Allen Lazard).
|Iowa junior cornerbacks 14 Desmond King and|
13 Greg Mabin will be tested on Saturday against
the ISU wide receiver corp in this year's
Cy-Hawk Game in Ames.
"It has to be a team thing," said Ferentz. "Our secondary has to do a good job, and there are going to be some balls that we're going to have to try to fight for and come out ahead on.
"They have good size at the receiver position, which is concerning. We're going to have to do a good job trying to get pressure and trying to reroute and things like that. If we let those guys run the routes they want to uncontested, it's going to be a long night."
Ferentz says senior tight end Jake Duzey is making progress coming of knee surgery this off season, while he is hopeful sophomore running back Derrick Mitchell, Jr., is available Saturday. Mitchell moved to running back from wide receiver in the Spring and appears to be third in the running back rotation for the Hawkeyes heading into the 2015 season.
The Cyclones are young at running back. Sophomore Tyler Brown is the new starter, with Mike Warren, a redshirt freshman, and true freshman Joshua Thomas running right behind in ISU's three man rotation.
The series was dark from 1935 to 1976, but in 1977, the series resumed, with Iowa winning 12-10 in Iowa City. The series returned to Ames in 1981, with the Cyclones winning the game, 23-12, which was Ferentz' first season, under Fry at Iowa. The Hawkeyes began a 15 game win streak, the following year. Rhoads was in his fourth season, as a defensive assistant, when the Cyclones ended the Iowa streak, in Fry's final season at Iowa.
The all-time series favors Iowa 38-19 overall; and the Hawkeyes have won 24 of 38, since the series resumed in 1977. The average score in Ames, since 1977, has Iowa 31, Iowa State 17.
"It has been a great series through the years, and it is an exciting football game for all of our players that grew up in the state of Iowa," Ferentz said Wednesday inside the All-American Room in the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center. "For them to have an opportunity to play in this game is a special thing. It's going to be an exciting environment."
Iowa and Iowa State have six starters apiece that hail from the Hawkeye State. Iowa has 17 homegrown players and two specialists on their two-deep; the Cyclones have 11 and two specialists.
"The heart and soul of our team come from this state," said Ferentz. "Our great leaders tend to be the guys that played high school football in this state, and that's important in this game. They have an appreciation and they're the guys that do a good job of sharing it with other players that come from other places."
"It has been a tough atmosphere. I go back to 1981, it was no walk in the park back then," said Ferentz. "We know it's going to be tough walking in there. It was tough two years ago, and they'd say the same thing about coming here.
"It's going to be a lively, vivacious crowd, they're going to be loud, and it's one more thing as the road team that you have to try to overcome to be successful."
Ferentz has a nice trump card heading into Iowa's first road game of the 2015 season -- a rushing attack that spurned out 210 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per attempt in the season opener against Illinois State.
|Iowa senior RB 33 Jordan Canzeri makes another trip to Ames|
and figures to play a role in both the run and pass game for the
Hawkeyes this season.
Running backs, junior LeShun Daniels, Jr., and senior Jordan Canzeri, combined for 242 yards of total offense against the Redbirds. Daniels had a game-high 123 yards rushing, while Canzeri had 118 yards of total offense, including four catches for 90 yards.
"They completed each other well (against Illinois State)," said Ferentz."If we could keep that kind of rhythm going that would be wonderful."
Both defensive coordinators are seeking to take away the run in 2015. In addition, each one will want to put pressure on the quarterback. ISU had four sacks in last year's 20-17 win in Iowa City. The Cyclones kicked a 42 yard field goal with 0:02 left in the game, to clinch victory.
|Iowa State RDE 45 Dale Pierson lead the Cyclones defense in |
the season opener, with 3 sacks and one interception vs. UNI.
The Cyclones have undertaken a urban renewal project with the ISU defense. The Cyclones recorded six sacks (their most since the Houston Bowl a decade ago) and 13 tackles behind the line in the season opener against UNI. A “3-4” defense (three linemen, four linebackers) was added to the team’s playbook in the off-season. Senior RDE Dale Pierson stood out with three sacks, but the team’s overall defensive pressure was the dominating factor in the game.
The 2015 game in the rivalry will take place in the newly renovated Jack Trice Stadium at 3:45 p.m. central time on Sept. 12th televised on FOX. The road team has won the last three meetings, including a 27-21 Iowa victory in 2013 in Ames.
|Iowa senior WR 4 Tevaun Smith has been pretty quiet in past Cy-Hawk games.|
Could this be a breakout game for the Hawkeye #1 wide receiver?