It’s not that big of a deal to folks outside the state, but the matchup between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones means the world to the programs. Both teams are coming off season-opening wins with the Hawkeyes an impressive 34-6 victor over Big Ten rival Indiana. Expectations are high for ISU coming off a 9-win season, a berth in the Big 12 title game and a win over Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl.
Still, they barely got by FCS Northern Iowa 16-10 as a four-touchdown favorite. Maybe the Cyclones were looking ahead to their bigger in-state rival. ISU is laying 4-points on the opening line and will have to play much better to end a five-game losing streak in the series.
The Week 2 college football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones will take place at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 11, 2021 and will be televised on ABC.
Iowa Hawkeyes at Iowa State Cyclones Odds
Iowa Hawkeyes +4 [BET NOW]
Iowa State Cyclones -4 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 45.5 [BET NOW]
You can throw out the stats and records when these rivals get together. Going off what happened last week you might expect the Hawkeyes to be favored. They crushed a ranked Big Ten opponent easily covering the 3.5-point closing line. It was more of a struggle for ISU having to overcome an early deficit to beat UNI 16-10 as a 28.5-point favorite. So of course the Cyclones are laying 4-points on the opening line with the total at 45.5.
The teams didn’t play last season due to COVID scheduling issues so ISU will host for a second consecutive time. Iowa extended its winning streak in the series to five with an 18-17 win in 2019. The Hawkeyes are 3-1-1 ATS over that span with the UNDER at 5-1 in the previous six meetings. Iowa State hasn’t won in Ames since 2011 going 0-4 SU and 1-2-1 ATS since.
One thing about the Hawkeyes is that they play defense at a high level. That hasn’t changed and it more than makes up for any inconsistencies on offense. They smothered an explosive Indiana attack last week holding the Hoosiers to 233 yards and a pair of field goals. The Hawkeyes haven’t allowed more than 24 points in their last 23 games. Cornerback Riley Moss scored two more touchdowns than IU with a pair of pick-6s. “I don’t want to say I’m surprised, but I’m very pleased. It’s good team defense. I know that sounds mundane, but that’s how we play,” Kirk Ferentz said.
The offense will have to kick it into another gear to help out. The Hawkeyes aren’t going to get two defensive scores every game so it’ll be interesting to see how the group responds when forced to make something happen. They did enough last week with Spencer Petras throwing for 145 yards and Tyler Goodson rushing for 99 yards on 19 carries. They each had a rushing touchdown. Iowa managed just 303 total yards and was 4 of 12 on third down while losing a pair of fumbles. They probably won’t escape this week with those kinds of numbers.
Iowa State Cyclones
ISU laid an egg in last season’s opener and went on to match a program record for wins in a season. Maybe it’s a new trend under Matt Campbell, who has turned ISU into a force in the Big 12. You might recall the Cyclones were upset by Lousiana last year then went on to win nine of their last 11 games with the two setbacks by a combined nine points. They were 7-4 ATS in that stretch. Perhaps peeking ahead in the schedule the Cyclones were tested by UNI, but they staved off the upset bid.
After struggling against a FCS foe can the Cyclones move the ball against a stingy Big Ten group? Most would probably say no which is why the UNDER has gotten some play. But ISU has plenty of talent across the board and should be much better than what it showed last week. A bunch of starters are back with talented skill players like Brock Purdy and Breece Hall. The group averaged 441 yards and 32.8 points last season. Purdy was 21 of 26 for 199 yards and Hall managed just 69 yards on 23 rush attempts.
Iowa at Iowa State Prediction
Our picks: Iowa State Cyclones -4 and UNDER 45.5
I like the Cyclones and I expect them to be more dialed in this week. This is potentially a better team than last year with a bunch of starters on offense back and a defense that’s bigger and faster. It’s also a great opportunity for them to reclaim the Cy-Hawk Trophy, something they haven’t done since 2014. Purdy will solve Iowa’s defense and ISU will limit the Hawkeyes offensively allowing them to cover the line, though I don’t see a lot of points on the board.
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