Cy-Hawk rivalry has major implications for both sides

The Hawkeyes and the Cyclones both have something to lose — and something to gain — from a hard-fought battle at Kinnick on Saturday.


Joseph Cress

Iowa State players take to the field during the Iowa/Iowa State game for the Cy-Hawk trophy in Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cyclones, 44-41, in overtime.

Anna Kayser, Assistant Sports Editor

For the 66th time in history, in-state rivals Iowa and Iowa State will compete for the chance at yearlong bragging rights and the chance to hoist the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

With the rise of Iowa State’s program under the tutelage of head coach Matt Campbell, the Cyclones pose a new threat. A loss at Kinnick Stadium puts Iowa in a tough spot going into its Big Ten schedule.

No. 21 Michigan was the only Big Ten team to lose in Week 1, and it started out its season against a highly ranked Notre Dame squad. Going into Week 3, all of the major Big Ten title contenders will probably be 2-0, and Iowa can’t afford to be at .500 if it’s chasing a title.

Facing a tough Wisconsin team early in the season — even at home — will be a challenge. That, combined with taking on Penn State on the road, means that Iowa needs all the tallies in the win column that it can get in its first three games.

For Iowa State, the implications for the game are the same, with three games on its schedule coming against currently ranked teams. Next weekend, the Cyclones will take on No. 6 Oklahoma in Ames, a team they upset on the road in 2017. They also will face No. 16 TCU on the road on Sept. 29 and No. 14 West Virginia at home on Oct. 13.

Last season, the Cy-Hawk battle was a little too close for comfort for both fan bases, a change of pace from Iowa’s runaway win in 2016.

“I think it was about two weeks after that [2016 game] where they really started to gain traction, and since then, they’ve been playing excellent football,” Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You can take that tape, but it’s really worth nothing for anybody in our organization.”

The Hawkeye defense allowed 28 Cyclone points in the second half in the 2017 win, and a lot of those guys who made defending tough are back for Iowa State.

Iowa has been relying heavily on game footage from the matchup last season to prepare, but a challenge still comes from Iowa State’s Week 1 game being canceled.

“It comes down to just playing team defense and paying attention to the details,” senior defensive end Parker Hesse said. “There were times when we didn’t do that in the game last year. We were fortunate enough to come away with a win, but this year, we have to be on top of each and every play.”

They’re going to be good players; we’re just trying to play our game.

— T.J. Hockenson

In the first game against Northern Illinois, the Iowa defense held the team together when the offense got off to a slow start. Against Iowa State, both sides of the ball need to come out of the tunnel strong.

The Cyclone line is backed by experienced defensive men who could push the Hawkeye offense back, but with one game under its belt, Iowa knows what it needs to do.

“They have veteran secondary, and that’s something we need to look at,” sophomore tight end T.J. Hockenson said. “They’re going to be good players; we’re just trying to play our game.”