The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Bad blood: the history of the Cy-Hawk showdown before its 70th football meeting

The Hawkeye football team holds a 46-23 record against the Cyclones.
Grace Smith
Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson attempts to catch a pass during a football game between Iowa and Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. The Cyclones ended a six-game Cy-Hawk series losing streak and defeated the Hawkeyes, 10-7. Hutchinson averages 8.9 yards per reception.

Bad blood will boil in Ames, Iowa, on Sept. 9 when the Iowa football team rolls into Jack Trice Stadium for its 70th meeting with the Iowa State Cyclones.

The rivalry first began with the first meeting between the two schools on Oct. 1, 1894, in which the Cyclones were victorious with a 16-8 win. The Cyclones and Hawkeyes then met 24 times over the course of the next 40 years, the Hawkeyes winning all but eight games.

But on Nov. 20, 1934, the Hawkeyes entered Ames and fell considerably with a 31-6 loss. From then on, the Hawkeyes refused to schedule the Cyclones in their games, and the two would not meet again for 43 years.

In 1977, the Cyclones and Hawkeyes faced off once again with the unveiling of the Cy-Hawk Trophy to reignite the bitter rivalry.

The trophy, named after mascots Cy the Cardinal and Herky the Hawk, was created as a traveling trophy by the Greater Des Moines Athletic Club in 1975 and would be presented to the winner each year. The Hawkeyes, who won the 1977 reunion, received the award from then-Iowa Gov. Robert D. Ray.

From then on, the Cyclones and Hawkeyes met every year, the winner taking the Cy-Hawk Trophy home, with games in odd-numbered years played in Ames and even-numbered years in Iowa City. 

Iowa leads the all-time series with 46 wins to Iowa State’s 23, including 15 straight Hawkeye wins from 1983 to 1997 under legendary head coach Hayden Fry.

Now, the No. 25 Hawkeyes, coming off of a 24-14 win over Utah State, will return to Ames this weekend with revenge on their mind after losing the trophy to the Cyclones in Iowa City with a 10-7 loss in September of last year. The Cyclones also won their Week 1 matchup, 30-9, against Northern Iowa.

While the Hawkeyes boast a new-look offense with Michigan transfers in quarterback Cade McNamara and tight end Erick All as well as Charleston Southern transfer Seth Anderson, the Cyclones also boast a new face in under center Rocco Becht due to starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers’ suspension for illegal gambling.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Committee started an investigation in May looking into online sports gambling by athletes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. 

In August, charges against student-athletes from both programs began being released, including Dekkers and starting Iowa State running back Jirehl Brock, as well as Hawkeye kicker Aaron Blom and former wide receiver Arland Bruce IV.

Beyond football, the two universities compete in the annual Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, which awards points to one team for a victory over the other in all head-to-head regular season competitions between the two in all shared sports.

2004 was the inaugural season for the competition, which Hy-Vee sponsored as the Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series. On April 12, 2011, the Iowa Corn Promotion Board and Iowa Corn Growers Association announced they would be taking over the sponsorship, thus renaming the rivalry the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series.

RELATED: Iowa football senior quarterback Cade McNamara makes Hawkeye debut in 24-14 win over Utah State

The winning team in each sport is awarded two points toward the university’s total for the year — three for football — as well as one point if the university’s graduation rate exceeds its own student body rate. The university with the most overall points at the end of the academic year wins the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series Trophy. 

Iowa State leads with nine wins, including this past year, while Iowa has won eight. The two tied in the 2015-16 year. 

Although the Iowa State wrestling team won its first official Corn Cy-Hawk Series meet by just three points in 2004, Iowa proved victorious in the next 17 meets, including 2022, winning 18-15. The Hawkeyes’ overall record is a whopping 68-16-2 against the Cyclones, and the two will meet again in Ames on Nov. 26.

But legendary wrestler Dan Gable made what might be a cardinal sin in splitting the gap between the two teams in the 1970s.

The 150-pounder wrestled for the Cyclones from 1967 to 1970, securing two national championships with a 117-1 record. He went on to win gold at the 1971 World Wrestling Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, and gold at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany.

But in 1976, Gable took the head coaching position for his alma mater’s rival Iowa Hawkeyes, leading them to 21 Big Ten Championships and 15 NCAA titles throughout his tenure that ended with his retirement in 1997.

Gable coached 152 All-Americans, 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten champions, 12 Olympians, and eight Olympic medalists. He had a 355-21-5 dual meet record while with the Hawkeyes.

When it comes to basketball, the two schools first met all the way back in February 1909 when Iowa hosted the Cyclones at the Old Armory Gym in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes narrowly escaped with a 30-27 win. 

Since then, as the game has evolved, the two teams have squared off 76 times, with Iowa leading the series 48-28 overall.

The two teams have produced notable NBA players such as Tyrese Haliburton and Jeff Hornacek from the Cyclones, with B.J. Armstrong and Luka Garza from the Hawkeyes. The latter boasted a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double in a win against Iowa State in December 2019. 

Iowa has won four out of the last five games, including a comfortable 75–56 win the last time the two played last December

The women’s basketball rivalry is much closer, with the Iowa women’s basketball team capturing 10 wins to Iowa State’s eight since 2004.

In their last matchup on Dec. 7, 2022, the No. 16 Hawkeyes upset the No. 10 Cyclones, 70-57 behind 19 points from then-junior guard Caitlin Clark and 18 and 13, respectively, from then-seniors Monika Czinano and Kate Martin.

But it all will circle back to the football field on Saturday when the rivals meet again.

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About the Contributors
Colin Votzmeyer
Colin Votzmeyer, Assistant Sports Editor
Colin Votzmeyer is a junior at the University of Iowa studying journalism and mass communication with minors in history and criminology, law, and justice. Prior to his role as assistant sports editor, he previously served as digital producer, news reporter covering crime, cops, and courts, and sports reporter covering track and field and women's basketball. He plans on attending law school after his graduation with hopes of pursuing a career as a criminal defense attorney.
Cooper Worth
Cooper Worth, Pregame reporter
Cooper Worth is a Pregame Reporter for The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication. He is also earning a minor in communication studies and an entrepreneurial management certificate. This is his third year at the DI, previously serving as a News Editor and as a News Reporter covering local government in Johnson County for the DI. Cooper interned for the Telegraph Herald in Dubuque, Iowa during the summer of 2023 as a general news reporter.
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.