The Breakdown - ISU

Hawkeye Insider Publisher Rob Howe checks in with his preview of Iowa-Iowa State with a game prediction.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - For the most part, a rivalry isn't a rivalry unless it's competitive, at least on a semi-regular basis. Iowa and Iowa State would fall in line with that criteria during the last 13 years. The Cyclones hold a 7-6 edge.

The Big Game is in danger of becoming the Big Lame, however. The Cyclones need a win on Saturday in Ames.

Iowa has dominated the last two games by a combined score of 70-10. The Hawkeyes have won six of the last eight meetings after Iowa State ran off five in a row.

The Hawkeyes won 15 contests in a row in the series from 1983-96. Iowa handed out some whoopins' during that stretch.

Iowa State doesn't want this Hawkeye run to reach 7 of 9 because then the Cyclones will be staring at 8 of 10 next year as likely underdogs in Iowa City. The criticism of Kirk Ferentz not being able to beat ISU is starting to fade.

HAWKEYE HUDDLE: Hawkeye fans are invited to attend the Iowa vs. Iowa State "Hawkeye Huddle" on Friday evening, September 9, 2011 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the 7 Flags Events Center, 2100 NW 100th Street, Clive, Iowa.

Game time kickoff is scheduled for Saturday, September 10 at 11:00 a.m. at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

Admission to the Hawkeye Huddle on Friday is free and includes cash refreshments, door prizes, cheerleaders and Herky. Visit www.jointheiclub.com for additional information.

TELEVISION: The game will be televised to a national audience by the FOX Sports Network (FSN). The announcers are Joel Meyers, Joel Klatt and sideline reporter Jim Knox.

If you need help finding where the game will be broadcast in your area, click here.

RECORDS, RANKINGS:Both teams won their openers at home last week. Iowa beat Tennessee Tech (34-7) in a game delayed by lightning. Iowa State beat Northern Iowa (20-19) with a pair of touchdowns in the last five minutes.

Neither team is ranked.

HISTORY: This is the 59th meeting between the schools. Iowa holds a 39-19 advantage in the series. The Hawkeyes have won 21 of the last 28 meetings. Iowa has won three straight in the series, four of the last five and six of the last eight. Iowa is 16-7 in games played at Ames, including a 35-3 win two years ago.

THE LINE: The game opened at Iowa as a 7.5 favorite at the Mirage in Las Vegas and dropped to 7 on Wednesday. Caesars started it at 7 and it fell to 6.5 in two days. That meant money was coming in on Iowa State.

As someone who's been around this rivalry for a while, I wouldn't touch it if I were a gambling man. There are too many crazy things that happen.

It's interesting that money is coming in on Iowa State being as the Cyclones struggled to beat FCS UNI last week. I have to think bettors see it as a close game rather than the home team being the outright winner.

I have a feeling late money will come in on Iowa. As mentioned above, the Hawkeyes have rolled in the last two meetings of the rivalry. Yes, they have a lot of new faces, but so do the Cyclones. The total is 44. It's right around where the number has ended up the last two years.

Here are a couple of interesting trends:

-Hawkeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a road favorite of 3.5-10.0.

-Hawkeyes are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.

-Hawkeyes are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games.

-Hawkeyes are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.

-Hawkeyes are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.

-Hawkeyes are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a favorite.

-Cyclones are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 vs. Big Ten.

-Cyclones are 7-20 ATS in their last 27 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0.

-Cyclones are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games as a home underdog.

-Cyclones are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.

-Cyclones are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.

KEY MATCH-UPS:

ISU LT Kelechi Osemele vs. Iowa RE Lebron Daniel - The Cyclones Mountain stands 6-foot-6 and weighs in at a tick under 350 pounds. Daniel checks in at 6-2, 256.

You'd like to think that Daniel has a speed advantage, but Osemele is pretty nimble. There's little doubt he'll be playing on Sundays next year.

I'm not sure Daniel will win this match-up, but he can't get manhandled. ISU QB Steele Jantz moves well and the Hawkeye front must play assignment football and make him throw.

Daniel looked OK last week in his first start. He didn't face this type of challenge with Tennessee Tech.

Iowa WR Marvin McNutt vs. ISU CB Leonard Johnson - This could be a real good one. You get the sense that Iowa State will stack the box and blitz, leaving these two one-on-one at least some of the time.

McNutt put it on the Cyclones last season. He caught only two balls, but he totaled 75 yards on those receptions.

Leonard is one of the better corners Iowa will see this season. He's on the preseason Jim Thorpe Award watch list. The trophy goes to the nation's top defensive back.

McNutt got off to a fast start with six catches for 140 yards and two scores last week against Tennessee Tech. He moved to within three scoring grabs of the school's all-time mark. with 18.

ISU QB Steele Jantz vs. Iowa MLB James Morris - Jantz isn't Northwestern's Dan Persa, but he is the type of signal caller that has given the Hawkeyes fits in the past. The junior from California can beat you with his arm or legs, although the former weapon still is suspect.

As I said above, the Iowa line must play assignment football. After that. Morris needs to stay in position to keep Jantz from running for eight yards on a third-and-sevens.

Morris struggled at Northwestern last year when Persa got loose. The Hawkeye front became worn out and the linebackers couldn't make up the difference in a forth-quarter Wildcat comeback.

Morris probably is Iowa's most athletic middle linebacker in the Ferentz Era. The Hawkeyes are moving towards more speed at the second level to combat spread offenses with mobile QBs. This will be a good test to see how far they've come in that area.

Iowa RT Markus Zusevics vs. ISU LE Jake Lattimer - Zusevics is as steady as they come when you're talking offensive linemen. He might not deliver jaw-dropping blocks, but he protects the quarterback regularly.

Lattimer, like Zusevics, is a fifth-year senior. He torments opposing offenses as evidenced by his two-sack, three-fumbles-for-loss and forced-fumble performance in last year's upset of Texas.

Lattimer is a former linebacker, speed-rush end. Zusevics usually matches up well with that type of player.

ISU WR Aaron Horne vs. Iowa CB Shaun Prater - Yes, I know that Iowa's corners don't do a lot of one-on-one with the Cover-2, but they still have coverage responsibilities on opposing receivers.

Prater looked real good last week. He was physical and returned an interception for a long touchdown.

Horne, Jantz's junior college teammate, caught seven passes for 69 yards in their 20-19 win against Northern Iowa. No other Cyclone receiver had more than three catches.

Prater needs to be a shut-down corner this year with first-year starter Greg Castillo on the other side. He could be tested by Jantz and Horne on Saturday.

INJURIES:

Iowa State - Jerome Tiller (out, academics), Earl Brooks (out, knee), Ricky Howard (out, knee), Roosevelt Maggit (out, knee), Stephen Ruempolhamer (probable, knee), Kelechi Osemele (probable, ankle).

Iowa - Nolan MacMillan (out, hernia), Brad Rogers (out, heart), B.J. Lowery (out, wrist), Mika'il McCall (leg, out) , Shane Dibona (out for season, achilles), Carl Davis (questionable, undisclosed), Dakota Getz (questionable, shoulder).

THE SKINNY:

Iowa State -

-The Iowa State-UNI game drew 54,672 at Jack Trice Stadium. It was the largest crowd to see a home opener in Iowa State history. It ranks as the fourth-biggest crowd in Cyclone history.

-Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads is in his third season as head coach of the Cyclones. He is 13-13 as head coach.

-Jack Trice Stadium features a new $5 million video board.

-Iowa State is 12-1 under head coach Paul Rhoads when holding teams under 24 points and 1-12 when allowing more than 24 points.

-Iowa State has 54 players from the state of Iowa on its roster, while the Iowa roster lists 43 players from Iowa high schools.

Iowa -

-Coach Kirk Ferentz coached game No. 150 as Iowa's head coach in Iowa's 34-7 win over Tennessee Tech. The Hawkeyes were also victorious in game No. 50 under Ferentz (56-7 over Buffalo, 9/6/03) and in game No. 100 (35-0 over Syracuse, 9/8/07).

-Iowa has allowed Iowa State just one touchdown in the last 18 periods, dating back to the 2007 meeting. That touchdown came in the fourth quarter of Iowa's 35-7 win in Iowa City a year ago. Iowa won 17-5 in 2008 and 35-3 in 2009.

-Iowa WR Jordan Cotton is the brother of ISU defensive back Darian Cotton. Their father, Marshall, was an Iowa running back from 1985-87.

-Now in his 13th season as Iowa's head football coach, Kirk Ferentz ranks sixth in longevity among FBS head coaches. Ferentz is second among Big Ten coaches and nationally ranks behind Penn State's Joe Paterno, Frank Beamer of Virginia Tech, Larry Blakeney of Troy, Pat Hill of Fresno State and Mack Brown of Texas.

THE PREDICTION: I predict I will get stuck in traffic driving into the game and will utter profanities. You can take that to the bank.

As far as the game, it's probably safe to predict the unexpected. For some reason, that seems to be the trend, more often than not, in the last decade or so.

This year's meeting is made harder to dissect because both teams have so many new faces. There's no telling how they'll perform in a rivalry, especially for the Hawkeyes being on the road.

Knowing that the weird and unusual can happen, one has to break down this game from a match-up standpoint and push the unpredictable to the back burner. The simplest way to do that is to say that that the teams' strengths right now will knock heads.

I think Iowa can be prolific on offense. I'm still wary of the defense as a whole.

Iowa State boasts a pretty solid defense with playmakers. The Cyclone offense has a lot left to prove.

I don't see this meeting being the blowout it's been the last two seasons. I think the Cyclones come with a much better effort and focus.

IOWA 24 , Iowa State 20


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