“College Amesday”

Saturday Spotlight

(19) Iowa Hawkeyes at Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa: For the most part, everyone has been talking about the Wisconsin Badgers which I understand because they have started the season well. When I did my overlook of the Big Ten West, there wasn’t much to decide from. Let’s be realistic here, the Big Ten East has much more firepower by far with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State. In the West, it’s those Badgers I mentioned up top and these Hawkeyes. So far, they (Iowa) have looked good and I feel okay now because I have them winning the West. The Hawkeyes have one of the best quarterbacks that people don’t discuss, and he goes by the name of Nate Stanley. I think you know my “government name rule” by now, he applies to this. He’s a big kid standing tall at 6’4 and weighing in at 242 pounds. He stands tall in that pocket and lets that football spin down the field. Nate has a strong sense of pocket awareness which you don’t see much of in college. He has a strong arm, makes all the passes from the underneath throws, the passes over the middle and the deep ball down the field. He plays with a terrific vision of the entire field and if you’re open, you’re getting the football. What I admire about his game is the command he has of this entire offense. The Hawkeyes are a simple team under coach Kirk Ferentz. They always have a consistent offense and push the ball up the field and they always have a solid defense. I’m not saying this is a playoff team, but they can make things interesting in the Big Ten because they have some big-time games on their schedule. Speaking of big games, they’ll be in-state for this rivalry showdown today in Ames.

Iowa State: You don’t hear much about them because of the conference they play in. The Big-12 is pretty much the Oklahoma Sooners and everyone else. As of late, the Iowa State Cyclones have been flying up on people’s radar. Head coach Matt Campbell has come in and really given this entire program a spark over the last few seasons. They’ve finished 8-5 in their last two years which isn’t bad considering some had them close to the basement of the Big-12. When Campbell was hired, he wasted no time instilling changes within the team. He’s preached the importance of accountability and a family atmosphere. The team has made immense strides, but coach has stated that there’s still more work to be done. In the Big-12, you must be able to score. These Cyclones can light the scoreboard up. The kid they have under center is solid. Let me introduce you to quarterback Brock Purdy. He isn’t the biggest guy playing the position, but he has a big arm to really spin the ball down the field. He can bounce in and out the pocket, move the pocket to keep the play extended and runs to get the extra yards. They have a balanced attack with a ground game to control the clock. As solid as they are on offense, defense hasn’t necessarily been the greatest. It’s been good, but defensive coordinator Jon Heacock would be the first to tell you that there’s room for improvement. The shining star of the defense is a kid named Jaquan Bailey, one of the best defensive players in the conference. He’s quick, athletic and always seems to find a way to the ball to make a tackle. This should be a fun day today in Ames.

Iowa Player To Watch: Toren Young– This is one of the more physical running backs in the country. He loves to contact which means he loves lowering that shoulder to run through a defender, then he breaks away to the next tier with his speed. He’s a workhorse that you can always feed the football too. Expect him to get his touches to confuse the Cyclone defense early on.

Iowa State Player To Watch: Willie Harvey– He’s an underrated linebacker. He was born to play the game of football. He’s in on tackles for loss, rushes the passer, gets to the ball-carrier and plays sideline to sideline. He’ll have his hands full with a prolific quarterback in town today.

Final Analysis: It’s the battle for the Cy-Hawk trophy! Who runs Iowa? This game will tell us what direction both teams will go after today. It’s key for Iowa to mix things up as an offense. I’d establish Young early on because the Cyclones defense is expecting Stanley to come out and throw it. Use your play-action. Iowa State must play better on the defensive side. If they can get to Stanley without loading up the box, they have a shot to win this game and control things. This would be a huge win for them today if they can prevail.

Prediction: Iowa 38 Iowa State 28