Embracing the Iowa-Iowa State culture

Several themes highlighted Iowa’s media availability, including non-Iowans embracing the Cy-Hawk rivalry, praise for Iowa State’s defense, and a breakthrough in the kicking battle.

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Embracing the Iowa-Iowa State culture

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley gets tackled during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk trophy game between Iowa and Iowa State in Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. The Hawkeyes handily defeated the Cyclones, 42-3. (The Daily Iowan/File Photo)

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley gets tackled during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk trophy game between Iowa and Iowa State in Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. The Hawkeyes handily defeated the Cyclones, 42-3. (The Daily Iowan/File Photo)

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley gets tackled during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk trophy game between Iowa and Iowa State in Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. The Hawkeyes handily defeated the Cyclones, 42-3. (The Daily Iowan/File Photo)

Iowa running back Akrum Wadley gets tackled during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk trophy game between Iowa and Iowa State in Kinnick Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. The Hawkeyes handily defeated the Cyclones, 42-3. (The Daily Iowan/File Photo)

Adam Hensley, [email protected]

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In the state of Iowa, the Cy-Hawk Series is a big deal.

But ask some of the Hawkeyes who lived out of state before joining the program, and you’d hear a different story.

“I didn’t know anything about it at all,” defensive lineman Cedric Lattimore said.

The Redford, Michigan, native wasn’t the only Hawkeye unfamiliar with the state’s biggest rivalry before arriving on campus.

“I didn’t grow up in Iowa, so I wasn’t acclimated to the big rivalry,” tight end Noah Fant said. “But as soon as I stepped on campus, I realized it’s a huge game. I take it as such … When we actually got into game week [my freshman year], I truly understood. This is real.”

The Cy-Hawk Series stands as a time where all sports focus in the state shifts to either Ames or Iowa City.

In-state players such as offensive lineman Ross Reynolds have known about the rivalry for years.

Reynolds, a Waukee native, said his family had no key ties to either side, so he chose his favorite team another way.

“I had a whole bunch of friends who are Iowa fans, so that’s who I went with,” he said. “I’ve [fulfilled] a lifelong dream.”

As much as fans want to hear about Iowa’s anticipation for the battle against Iowa State, the players aren’t handing out any bulletin-board material.

“It’s one game at a time,” Reynolds said. “Every week is a different week, but you just [have to] prepare the same, and go out there, and give it a go.”

Keying in on the Cyclone secondary

Iowa State returned two starters in its secondary from last season: safety Kamari Cotton-Moya and cornerback Brian Peavy.

Cotton-Moya ranked 27th in the country in solo tackles (58 in 2016), and Peavy earned All-Big 12 Honorable Mention recognition the past two seasons.

Safety Reggie Wilkerson and cornerback D’Andre Payne round out the rest of the Cyclone secondary. Wilkerson, a Georgia transfer, played in 20 games during his four-year stint with the Bulldogs. Payne started in eight games for Iowa State in 2016, notching 36 solo tackles, including 5.5 for a loss.

“They’ve got some really good D-backs — good corners, good safeties,” running back Akrum Wadley said.

Last year, Iowa threw for 237 yards and completed 66 percent of its passes.

But with another year under their belts, Iowa State’s corners and safeties are hungry to avenge last season’s 42-3 beatdown in Kinnick.

“I’m sure they’ve got a few more tweaks [in their defensive scheme],” receiver Matt VandeBerg said. “They’ve got good guys in space.”

Winning the kicking game

Keith Duncan was Iowa’s kicker last season, but Hawkeye fans saw a new face at kicker in the win against Wyoming.

Junior Miguel Recinos took over the starting duties, making his lone field goal attempt and all three of his extra points.

On kickoffs, Wyoming only managed 20 yards in two returns.

“He was excellent,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He kicked off well to start with. That is important obviously. That’s an important job. And he looked really confident kicking the football, too, the place-kicking part of it. Just really happy about that. That was a good start for him, and hopefully, he can gain a little confidence coming out of that.”

Recinos described his first start as a great experience and credits strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle with his improvement in kicking range.

“[Doyle’s program] helped a lot with leg strength,” Recinos said. “I’ve hit from distances I hadn’t thought of before I came here.”

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