Iowa State vs Iowa Football: Iowa needs strong performances from its linebackers and offensive line to extend its winning streak against Iowa State to four games.
Over the last decade and a half, many Hawkeye fans have wondered whether the Cy-Hawk football game is a lose/lose situation for the black and gold. While Iowa rarely receives any recognition or acclaim from the national media for beating the Cyclones — who, rightly or not — are seen nationally as a Big 12 bottom-feeder, a loss to the Cyclones can significantly tarnish the average football fan’s perception of the Hawkeyes. Iowa, which only has a 10-9 record against the Cyclones under Kirk Ferentz’s leadership, has fallen victim to this problem too often for many fans’ comfort.
This year is different. With statement wins against Oklahoma and TCU, a solid victory over Memphis in the Liberty Bowl, and one of the hottest up-and-coming head coaches in the nation, the 2017 Cyclones forced the national media to question its perception of the Iowa State program. Some of the factors behind Iowa State’s success will be difficult to replicate this year (they are certain to lose more than one fumble in 2018, for example), but they return a solid core of offensive players in Kyle Kempt, David Montgomery, and Hakeem Butler, as well as key members of a unit that produced the second-best scoring defense in the Big 12 in 2017. Hawkeye fans who criticize the Cy-Hawk series are finally getting what they asked for this year, though not quite in the way they wanted it; a loss to the Cyclones this season wouldn’t torpedo Iowa’s credibility, but getting a win will require Kirk Ferentz to defeat arguably the most talented Cyclone team he has ever faced.