September 7, 2012 by MarkHanrahan20
It’s rivalry week here in Iowa and one of my favorite weeks to be a Cyclone fan. But something just doesn’t seem right about it this year… The trash talk is almost non-existent and it just doesn’t feel like either side is that excited. I’m guessing Hawkeye fans are treading lightly after squeaking out a “neutral field” victory over Northern Illinois and all the question marks surrounding their team. At the same time, Cyclone fans know how difficult it is to go into Kinnick and walk out with a W. Tulsa may very well prove to be a pretty good team by the end of the year, but was that the real Steele Jantz? With both fan bases having legitimate causes for concern heading into Saturday, it spells out a perfect recipe for an instant classic.
For the first time in years, I won’t be making the trek over to Iowa City for the Cy-Hawk Game and while I was initially disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to soak in the big game atmosphere, it almost seems right to watch the game here in Des Moines, with friends (many impartial) and enjoy the game from afar. It will be nice to hear the announcers on TV, see the predictable flyover cornfield shots, and most of all not deal with Iowa City post game traffic. Watching the game with my friends will be a good way to escape the verbal abuse from some of the psychotic fringe fans and remind me that this really is a “friendly rivalry”. Next week will come and as much as some won’t admit it, they’ll be secretly rooting for their in state rival to have a good year, and have a strong showing for the state. Personally, I’ll be pulling for Iowa to have a solid year, as long as they don’t win a conference championship…
But, on to the game… What does Iowa State need to do to retain the Cy-Hawk trophy and what players must step up for the Cyclones?
- Wide Receiver play – The Cyclone receivers got off to a rough start against Tulsa. By my count, and keep in mind this is many PBR’s in, five of Jantz’s first six incompletions bounced right off the hands of a Cyclone receiver or tight end, one ending in an interception. The Hawkeye defensive backs will no doubt be much more physical than those Tulsa, so the Cyclones need to be the aggressor and show that they aren’t scared of a big hit. They are going to need to show the ability to go over the middle and stretch the field to set up the screen game which proved to be a valuable weapon against the Hurricane. It would be nice to see guys like Brundlage, Daniels, and Tiller show no fear, and to see Lenz split the safeties or better yet, get behind them. If those guys can be effective, it will make Albert Gary and Jarvis West even harder to contain in the short game.
- Rough up C.J. Fiedorowicz – We have all heard how excited Iowa Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis gushing about how he couldn’t wait to utilize the former prize recruit. But for some reason, the 6’7” 265lb Fiedorowicz doesn’t always remember that he’s 6’7” 26lbs! As my friend, Ken Miller pointed out, he seemed to go down on first contact and could never really break a big one against Northern Illinois. While A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are phenomenal linebackers, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking either can truly hang with Fiedorowicz in a one-on-one situation. The key will to be physical with him at the line of scrimmage, make it difficult for him to get off the line, then once he does make a catch, and he will, make him remember who hit him.
- Kirby Van Der Kamp – No mistakes, period. While he doesn’t need to average 50 yards a punt, he can’t afford even one big mistake.
- Bend, Don’t Break Defense – This last one flies in the face of everything I love to see out of a defensive squad in the a football game, but against this Iowa team, the way it’s constructed, I really think it’s the key to the game. Let the Hawkeyes try to grind it out on the ground and string together a series of short passes to move the ball down the field. Their young running backs haven’t proven that they can hold up to the grind of running into like Knott and Klein play after play and the unproven Hawkeye skill players certainly haven’t shown the consistency to march down the field at will. The last thing the Wally Burnham’s defense needs is to give Vandenberg a shot of confidence by completing a long ball early in the game.
While this week may be lacking in trash talk, I can’t wait for the game really look forward to seeing how this season plays out for both teams. While this rivalry may not have the hatred as an Auburn – Alabama, or the pageantry as an Army – Navy, it’s our rivalry and a great one at that.
Last week’s PBR Tall Boy (my player of the week) goes to….
Shontrelle Johnson, no doubt. Great game for the young running back from DeLand, FL after it looked to some like he may never play again, suffering a scary neck injury last year. Shontrelle had 122 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown in his return to action
Weekly Pick 7
Using the USA Today/Covers odds
Iowa State outright over Iowa (-4) I’ll take Iowa State to win outright, don’t need the points as the Cyclones head back to Ames with the trophy and a 34-23 win.
Florida and Texas A&M UNDER 53 points. Texas A&M is going to find out the hard way that they play defense in the SEC and that their offensive ineptitude will also fit right in. Florida still doesn’t have an offensive identity and the Gators win 20-6.
Oklahoma State (-13.5) over Arizona. Mike Gundy is going to want to justify his beet down of Savannah State by showing they can score on anyone. Ok State 48 – Arizona 24
Louisiana Tech (+5) over Houston. This isn’t the Case’s Cougars anymore, as they lost to Texas State last week. Louisiana Tech plays it close and covers, but loses 27-24
Georgia (-3.5) over Missouri. Welcome to the SEC Tigers. Bulldogs beat up Mizzu, 31-10.
USC (-24) over Syracuse – Kiffin wants the top spot back and won’t call off the dogs early. Trojans roll (56-6).
Savannah State (+70) over FSU – There is no official line here, but after all the bad PR teams are getting for even scheduling Savannah State I think FSU will show mercy and keeps it within 60. FSU 60 – Savannah State 6.