Cyclones and Hawkeyes prepare for Iowa dual


by David Morain

This Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City will mark the 50th installment of the Iowa vs. Iowa State football rivalry. While the annual contest is always the highlight of both teams’ seasons, the stakes are up even higher this year. Both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones have their sights set on January bowls, but a loss this early in the season would almost ensure that one of the teams will not reach its goal. So which team has the upper hand come Saturday?


Iowa: One of the most athletic quarterbacks to ever play at Iowa, Brad Banks brings confidence to a team that has yearned for a capable field general in recent years. His strong arm needs to be extra accurate to produce yards with a corps of novice receivers.

Iowa State: Seneca Wallace is Iowa State’s first legitimate Heisman hopeful since smooth-talking running back Troy Davis. He has the arm, the legs, and the field vision to make an impact at the next level.

Advantage: Iowa State

Running Back:

Iowa: Fred Russell has been a nice surprise this year, gaining 7.1 yards per carry (328 yards overall) in the absence of Aaron Greving. Jermelle Lewis is also capable of pounding out yardage when Russell needs a breather.

Iowa State: After two Davis brothers and Enis Haywood piling up 1,000-yard seasons like a Nebraska Husker collecting felony charges, Iowa State will look to Hiawatha Rutland to carry on the tradition this year. If he goes down, the Cyclones get a little thinner in the backfield with Michael Wagner and Brian Thompson.

Advantage: Iowa

Wide Receiver/Tight End:

Iowa: Experience aside… well, these Hawks are still poor. Maurice Brown is the only game breaker among a crew that routinely drops passes as though they were upper-level math classes. Brown and tight end Dallas Clark are the only reasons Banks can get to sleep at night.

Iowa State: Speedster Lane Danielsen has proved to be a reliable target for Wallace over the past two years and looks poised to show the Big 12 he is a legitimate threat to get to the end zone every time he touches the ball. Jamaul Montgomery had a huge game against Tennessee Tech.

Advantage: Iowa State

Offensive Line:

Iowa: Iowa returns one of the most experienced lines in the Big Ten this year. The Hawkeyes’ big horses have allowed their running game to provide points on the board when their passing game goes in the tank.

Iowa State: Just the opposite of Iowa, the Cyclone line is young and green. They have shown, however, that they can match up against big defensive lines and explode off the ball.

Advantage: Iowa

Defensive Line:

Iowa: Hardly an “Iowa” D-line (most of the players are from Florida and Texas), the Hawks have only given up an average of 40.5 yards on the ground per game. With Iowa State’s average running game, they could be poised to force the Cyclones to the air early in the game.

Iowa State: The loss of Reggie Hayward to the NFL has left the Cyclones high and dry on the D-Line. Iowa State has given up 119.7 rushing yards per game thus far. However, it should be noted that one of those games was against Florida State, and 300-pounder Jordan Carstens fills more than his fair share of the line.

Advantage: Iowa


Iowa: Fred Barr and Kevin Worthy lead an average troop of LBs. Their pass coverage is suspect, but they can definitely stuff the run.

Iowa State: Matt Word hits like a freight train, but there’s very little talent behind him. Iowa State will need their role players to step up at LB to stop Iowa’s rushing attack.

Advantage: Draw

Defensive Backs:

Iowa: With Benny Sapp leaving the Hawks to pursue his dreams of becoming a full time delinquent, the Iowa secondary is easier to pass over than the casserole at Pfeiffer. Seneca Wallace could have a career day.

Iowa State: This is probably Iowa State’s strength on defense. Atif Austin and converted RB JaMaine Billups can cover the run and pass effectively.

Advantage: Iowa State

Special Teams/Kickers:

Iowa: The kickoff team only allows 15.4 yards per return. Maurice Brown takes on kick return duties this year for the Hawks, and he averages better than 27 yards per return. Nate Kaeding is automatic, setting the record for most consecutive made extra points this year.

Iowa State: Ask an Iowa State fan what they remember most about Cyclone special teams and he or she will suddenly feel like choking the life out of kicker Tony Yelk. Iowa State has changed their kicking game this year to feature Adam Benike who is four of five on field goals. Lance Young is averaging 29 yards per kickoff return.

Advantage: Iowa (especially if Yelk gets a chance to redeem himself)

Final Thoughts:

Iowa will pound out 200 yards on the ground, but it won’t be enough to overcome Seneca Wallace and his Heisman aspirations.

Iowa State 31, Iowa 27