Coach Matt Campbell and the Iowa State Cyclones will be looking to do something they haven’t done during Campbell’s tenure on Saturday, beat Iowa. Campbell is 0-3 against the Hawkeyes. In total, the Cyclones have lost four straight against Iowa, including a 13-3 loss last year.
No. 19 Iowa has looked like the better team in their first two games this year. The Hawkeyes beat Miami of Ohio 38-14 in the opener and followed that with a 30-0 drubbing of Rutgers in their Big Ten Conference opener. Iowa State needed three overtimes in its only game to defeat Northern Iowa. The Cyclones came into the game ranked in the top 25.
Iowa’s First Real Test
Although Iowa has an average margin of victory of 27 points, this will be a much tougher test against the Cyclones. Neither Miami of Ohio nor Rutgers is expected to be in the upper echelon of college football this year. Iowa State came into the season ranked and motivation to play against its in-state rival won’t be an issue.
Quarterback Nate Stanley has been the key to the Hawkeyes’ impressive start. He has thrown for 488 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. Stanley put up five touchdowns in Ames in 2017’s 44-41 win over the Cyclones. The Hawkeyes have averaged 30 points a game when Stanley starts.
Iowa’s defense has been one of the biggest surprises across college football. They allow only seven points a game, which is fifth nationally. Their passing defense is just as good, allowing only 116.5 yards per game, which puts them ninth nationally. This could be problematic for an Iowa State team that only scored 13 points in regulation against Northern Iowa.
Cyclones Looking to Get Back on Track
Hopes have never been higher in Ames. They came into the season ranked and were listed as favorites to beat Iowa before the season opener. Although they got a win, having to take an FCS opponent into multiple overtimes to do it was not the start Cyclones fans were hoping for.
Brock Purdy was impressive in the opener, completing 30 of 41 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns. Iowa State used a balanced running attack, having three players attempt over 10 carries. They combined for 185 yards on 45 carries.
Deshaunte Jones looked like the real deal at receiver, hauling in 14 passes for 126 yards. La’Michael Pettway had both of the receiving touchdowns for a total of three catches for 26 yards.
The Cyclones defense was just ok against the Panthers. They had three sacks and limited them to only 13 points in regulation.
The line currently sits at Iowa -1.5 and the over/under is 43. The line started at Iowa State -1 and moved as high as Iowa -3 before eventually settling back to the Iowa -1.5 at most places.
I think the market overreacted a bit to Iowa State’s performance. They still got the win, and Northern Iowa comes from the best conference in FCS football. They are not a slouch. I think the Cyclones respond with a win over Iowa to break the losing streak.
Prediction: Iowa State 21, Iowa 20
I like Iowa State +1.5 in this one, where points will be at a premium.
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