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Gridiron Staff Picks: Iowa

Tyler Coe
J.R. Singleton runs onto the field moments before kickoff against UNI at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 2, 2023.

Christian Royston, Sports Editor (1-0)
Iowa State 24, Iowa 21

One of the most anticipated matchups of the year is finally upon us, and as expected, it is going to be nearly impossible to predict the outcome. Cy-Hawk games tend to be close, and this year will be no different.

It is clear to me after watching both week one matchups that the Cyclones and the Hawkeyes have the ability to move the football. Both teams’ offenses sputtered through all of last season, leading to a low-scoring contest. However, with the Hawkeyes’ addition of Cade McNamara and Iowa State’s new offensive coordinator in Nate Scheelhaase, both teams have the capability to produce on the offensive side of the ball.

The big question marks come when looking at whether the new offenses can deal with elite defenses. Both Iowa and Iowa State excel on the defensive side of the football, which could cause problems for either team. I do think that one score could cause the game to snowball, and seeing how last year proved that Matt Campbell can win Cy-Hawk games, Iowa State should come out on top in front of a packed home crowd.

Logan Shanks, Assistant Sports Editor (1-0)
Iowa State 23, Iowa 20

The last five Cy-Hawk matchups have been decided by 10 or fewer points, with three of those being decided by a field goal. The result of this year’s affair won’t look any different. Unless one team takes a commanding lead early on, expect this year’s game to look a lot like recent matchups.

The Hawkeyes have lived off of their talented defense over the last few seasons and didn’t miss a beat in their 24-14 win over Utah State to start the season. Much like Iowa State’s 30-9 victory over Northern Iowa last week, the Hawkeyes looked in control the whole time, which is how they found success in prior Cy-Hawk matchups.

McNamara showed signs of weakness late in the game against the Aggies and looked like his preseason injury was still bothering him. If the Cyclones can get to McNamara the way they did last week to another veteran quarterback in Theo Day, that’ll take pressure off of Iowa State’s still-developing offense.

This game will come down to which team’s offense takes advantage of good field positioning each team’s defense will give them. I believe the Cyclones host a stronger defense than the Hawkeyes and will continue to be the biggest asset for the team, especially against an uninventive offense like Iowa.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Cyclones’ new placekicker Chase Contreraz puts up a pair of clutch field goals, and possibly one to win the game, after turning heads with his 56-yard shot against UNI.

Pavle Markovic, Sports Reporter (1-0)
Iowa 13, Iowa State 10

Cy-Hawk week has finally arrived as fans flood to Ames for the clash of the titans match at Jack Trice. For this upcoming weekend, I have Iowa State dropping this game to the in-state rival Hawkeyes by a score of 13-10.

This series between the Cyclones and Hawkeyes has always been a weird one to say the least. Crazy plays that you usually don’t see in other college football games tend to happen in this Cy-Hawk series.

The Cyclones have kept it close against Iowa dating back to the 2017 season. It would not shock me to see the Cyclones pull off an upset win over the Hawkeyes on Saturday, just knowing the previous history of these two teams. However, I do have Iowa pulling out the slim win in a major defensive battle that eventually comes down to the final few seconds in which I expect Iowa kicker Drew Stevens to nail a game-winning field goal to give Iowa the win.

Michael Merrick, Sports Director for Daily Iowan TV
Iowa 20, Iowa State 17

Iowa State really impressed last week against UNI, and the Hawks did seem to run out of gas after the first few drives of the game. I am gonna pick the Hawkeyes to take this as I think the veterans they have all over the field will make the difference.

McNamara seemed to find some footing in his first game as a Hawkeye, but the Cyclone defense will prove to be a real test for the Iowa offense. I don’t know if Iowa has the talent on the perimeter to make a ton of splashy plays, but I do think the tight end duo of Luke Lachey and Erick All will prove to be too much for Iowa State.

I still think that with the atmosphere of Jack Trice, and the extra motivation each team has entering this game, that it will be a tight one throughout. The biggest thing to watch will be Iowa State’s quarterback play. Iowa is known for causing issues for young quarterbacks and without Hunter Dekkers it will be interesting to see how Rocco Becht and/or JJ Kohl perform.

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