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Iowa City, IA --- The 66th meeting of the CyHawk Game kicks off at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon, as a sell out crowd is expected to watch the #24 Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) vs. the #31 Iowa State Cyclones (0-0) with a 4 PM start on FOX. The series resumed back in 1977, after it was dark for over four decades.
Both teams finished off 8-5 last season, though Iowa pulled off a 44-41 OT victory over Iowa State in Ames. The Hawkeyes lead the series 43-22. The Hawkeyes are going for their fourth straight win.
Kirk Ferentz is in his 20th season leading the Hawkeyes. As a head coach, he has never won four straight, though he was on hand, as OL coach, during the Hayden Fry era, when the Hawkeyes ran off 15 straight over the Cyclones. He is 10-9 in the series, as a head coach, 17-11 at Iowa.
Twenty years ago, as a 28 point underdog, the Cyclones pulled out a 27-9 win, under coach Dan McCarney, ending the 15 game win streak, in Fry's final season in Iowa City.
In 2002, the Cyclones were a 3 point underdog, but pulled out a monster 36-31 win, again in Iowa City over the Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes dropped the game after a series of miscues and turnovers, despite an early 24-7 lead.
Last year, the Hawkeyes took an early 14-0 lead, only to fall behind by two possessions, but grinded their way back to force overtime in Ames. The Hawkeyes finished the game with a walk off TD from QB Nate Stanley to WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
For Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, he is entering his third season at the helm, leading the Cyclones. His first visit to Iowa City in 2016, the Cyclones lost big, 42-3 against the #16 Hawkeyes. So, as head coach, Campbell is 0-2 searching his first win in the series.
Back in 1977, when the series resumed in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes pulled out the upset win 12-10 to kickoff the renewed series, as the late Bob Commings for Iowa and late Earle Bruce for ISU lead the programs.
The 2018 game should be a competitive match up between two young programs coming off bowl wins and entering with positive expectations for the new season. Mutual respect is the tone from both head coaches and opposing players.
Confidence appears to be present on both sides. So, how should the breakdowns fall between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones