Football is back at Kinnick Stadium this weekend as the Iowa Hawkeyes host their interstate rival, the Iowa State Cyclones in a battle for the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk trophy. Iowa leads the all-time series with the State 39-20, but last season, the Cyclones bested the Hawks 44-41 in Ames.
To recap last week’s games for the two teams, Iowa played Northern Illinois University at Soldier Field in Chicago. It was a hard game for Hawkeye fans to watch, as Iowa struggled the entire game to score, with only a late touchdown allowing the Hawkeyes to come away with an 18-17 victory. Iowa State hosted the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes on opening weekend, rolling to a solid 38-23 victory.
Iowa State has a lot of momentum coming into this game, having had better success in their first week in addition to their victory over the Hawkeyes last season. Nevertheless, Iowa fans are as amped as always for the home opener.
“This game is really exciting, not only is it our first game at Kinnick this year, but we are also playing one of our big rivals.” said Taylor Blackwell, a senior at Iowa, “Iowa State hasn’t had much of a team while I’ve gone here, and it just adds to the excitement that they could be pretty good this year.”
The Cyclones will be looking to pull out another victory over the Hawkeyes Saturday, but that victory might be a little harder to pull-off in a jam-packed and noisy Kinnick Stadium.
Iowa City is pretty well-known for being one of the tougher places to visit as a road team. It is extremely loud, the fans are virtually right on-top of the
players, there is the pink visitor’s locker room and the fans are always excited to be at the game and let opposing teams know it. The stadium will be particularly loud this weekend for the rivalry game, and that will only add to the pressure for the Cyclones.
“We are looking to get a little revenge after last year,” says Blackwell, reflecting on the loss to the Cyclones.
The rivalry between these two teams is as heated as ever, with both teams making a bowl game this past season. Iowa State hasn’t had the best football team the past few years and Iowa has overlooked them a little bit because of it. Now however, both teams look to build upon last season’s success.
This reminds me of when I was growing up and both Iowa and Iowa State had winning programs. In 2002, Iowa and Iowa State both possessed Heisman candidates at quarterback, Brad Banks and Seneca Wallace respectively. Iowa State was led by Seneca Wallace and was coming off two consecutive bowl trips, eventually making it three straight. Brad Banks was leading Iowa was on the way back to respectability after a few down years. That season Iowa finished the regular season 11-1, with the only loss coming to none other than Iowa State. I remember arguing with my friends all year over who was a better team, Iowa being 11-1, or ISU at 7-7 but having beaten Iowa. To a thirteen-year old, nothing was more frustrating.
A win this Saturday would be huge for the Hawkeyes, they could build some more momentum for the season, beat one of their biggest rivals at home in front of a sold-out crowd, and of course give me bragging rights to all of my friends at ISU for a year.
by John Thompson