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Good Cop/Bad Cop: Iowa

Jayden+Higgens+starts+his+route+against+UNI+at+Jack+Trice+Stadium+on+Sept.+2%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Jayden Higgens starts his route against UNI at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 2, 2023.

Good Cop: Owen Slinde

It’s that time of the year: the Cy-Hawk matchup, where the Cyclones look to win back-to-back since 2011-12. 

The last time it was in Ames, in 2021, the Cyclones lost 27-17. This year the Cyclones look to capitalize on their home-field advantage. 

Last week, the Cyclones looked good. They eased the nerves, I think, of many. The defense was great as usual, and they’re going to need to use that again Saturday. 

Cornerback T.J. Tampa was asked about Iowa earlier this week and said, “Stop them in the run, shooting the gaps fast and also being prepared for them to take some shots.” If the defense keeps the pressure up, I think they can set up the offense in good positions. 

Quarterback Rocco Becht looked good in his first start. He accounted for three touchdowns, one on the run and two in the air. He did miss some shots long, but other than that he looked calm in the pocket. I think the use of the passing game and building off the run game from last week will be important to push the pace with the Hawkeyes. 

Be on the lookout for the special teams unit as well. Tyler Perkins looked good as well as Chase Contreraz. 

I’d like to see the Cyclones be a little less cautious in this game to show us what they can really do. It’ll be a defensive battle like it usually is but I see the Cyclones moving to 2-0 to start the season. 

Score Prediction: Iowa State 24, Iowa 21

Bad Cop: Cayden Storm

Iowa State did a good job of taking care of business last week against UNI, but the Hawkeyes provided a much stiffer test. 

Iowa State’s defense looked as advertised against UNI, with Jeremiah Cooper intercepting two passes and not allowing a touchdown until the game was already well decided late in the fourth quarter. 

I expect the defense to look strong again this week against an Iowa team that struggled to move the ball after a quick start against Utah State, especially with transfer quarterback Cade McNamara continuing to deal with a quad injury that will likely limit his mobility. 

The Cyclones offense is still where my concerns lie. 

Becht didn’t play badly by any means against UNI; he went an efficient 10-13 with three total touchdowns and did what the coaches asked him to do. The only problem is that he wasn’t asked to do much.  

The playcalling was conservative especially on third down as the Cyclones went only 2-11 on converting. Becht was never in a position to have to make a big play, and that lack of experience could show on Saturday. 

The game against Iowa will be Becht’s first real test of his career, and with Iowa being such a strong and experienced defense, I fear the game will move too fast for the young quarterback. 

In a game that figures to be a low-scoring affair, experience at the quarterback position could likely be the deciding factor, and McNamara has many big games under his belt from his time at Michigan.  

The game will give Becht much-needed experience, but it won’t be enough to pull out a win in a defensive slugfest.  

Score Prediction: Iowa 20, Iowa State 13

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