Notebook: Hawkeyes focused for Iowa State
Dominic Alvis has friends who go to school in Ames. This isn’t out of the ordinary, because he’s originally from Logan, Iowa — a small town near the border of Nebraska that’s around two and a half hours from the Iowa State campus.
A few of his buddies came up to Iowa City last weekend to visit Alvis and watch him play against Missouri State. During their stay, they tried to get Alvis riled up, as they always do, by talking up the Cyclones. It’s a friendly back-and-forth, and it happens every year.
“They were talking their regular smack,” Alvis said and smiled. “It’s all old hat to me. They’ve tried it all. Nothing crazy.”
Nearly every member of the Iowa football team was adamant on Tuesday that this week — hailed by many Hawkeye fans as “Beat State Week” — is just like every other week during the football season.
But, as Alvis shared, there are still those moments when the rivalry can’t be tuned out completely — even when it’s just friendly banter.
Brandon Scherff knows of this, too. A native of Denison, Iowa, Scherff has friends who go to Iowa State — Scherff himself was recruited by the Cyclones out of high school but obviously chose the Hawkeyes.
Each year, during the week before the game, Scherff gets texts from some of those friends. They don’t banter as much as Alvis’s friends do, but do show support for Scherff, saying it’s exciting they’ll get to see him play.
“I grew up my whole life with [the Cy-Hawk rivalry],” he said. “These rivalry games are big. I’ve gotten texts from all over the place saying they can’t wait to watch.”
And perhaps the Hawkeye who feels the rivalry the most is senior wideout Jordan Cotton. His family is a household divided because younger brother Darian is a defensive back for the Cyclones.
Cotton said his family has a routine in place for when Iowa and Iowa State meet. Cotton’s dad, Marshall, was a two-year letterman at Iowa from 1984-87 and will sport Black and Gold and sit with the Iowa fans.
Cotton’s mother will sit with the Cyclone contingent. The rest of the family will fill in as they see fit. But Cotton said there’s never any animosity at the dinner table.
“It’s definitely fun,” he said. “Whoever comes out with the W will have the bragging rights for that year.”
Weisman’s carries could climb
A topic of discussion on Tuesday was the Iowa State run defense. The Cyclones’ front seven allowed 228 net rushing yards to Northern Iowa in the season-opening loss — the bulk of that came from David Johnson’s 199 yards on 23 carries.
Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz was questioned on whether his offense would, in essence, run the ball down Iowa State’s throats after a poor performance. Ferentz said his team is preparing as if it was just another game.
The top Hawkeye rusher, Mark Weisman, was asked if there were any signs that might suggest he’ll get more carries against the in-state rival. He didn’t reveal if he had or not, but did admit there is a little more motivation for Saturday’s game.
“You never want to lose to a team, and you always want to get back to that,” Weisman said. “It should be a fun game out there.”
Emphasis still on mobile quarterback
Steele Jantz was a nightmare for Iowa during each of the last two meetings for the Cy-Hawk trophy — both resulting in wins for Iowa State. And even though he’s gone, the Hawkeye defense faces a similar challenge this season.
Sam Richardson, No. 12 on Iowa State’s roster (there’s another Sam Richardson that plays defensive back), delivered a gem of an opener despite the losing effort. Richardson accounted for 352 offensive yards (242 passing, 110 rushing) and two touchdowns.
Richardson and Jantz aren’t identical quarterbacks, but it’s still a worry for the Iowa defense.
“We’ve only got one game exposure to it, so they’ve got some new players who weren’t in there last year,” Ferentz said. “… Offensively, their quarterback is back, and he came in and did a great job for them last year and the latter part of the season.”
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