Iowa returns to the gridiron on Saturday, but not in Iowa City this time around. They make the short trip to Ames for their annual battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy against the rival Iowa State Cyclones. State bragging rights are up for grabs again, and Paul Rhoads' crew has claimed them three of the last four years including a 20-17 victory over Iowa a season ago.
Just like Iowa, Iowa State looked surprisingly sharp last week in a 31-7 win over Northern Iowa. On defense, they held Northern Iowa to just 176 yards through the air, while converting 20 of the 34 pass attempts. Northern Iowa's lone touchdown came in the passing game, but they were also intercepted once by Dale Pierson, a defensive lineman for the Cyclones. Iowa State gave up 126 yards on the ground, but it came on 41 carries, an average just over three yards a carry.
It's a defense rebuilt with a lot of junior college talent that they have collected. The starting defensive line for Iowa State will be Trent Taylor and Dale Pierson on the edge with Demond Tucker and Pierre Aka on the interior. Gabe Luna is expected to receive some playing time as well. They had a strong week against Northern Iowa, particularly Dale Pierson. He had a breakout game and it will be up to Iowa tackles Boone Myers and Ike Boettger to keep him in check in Jack Trice Stadium.
Jordan Harris returns to lead the Cyclones defense and he's quite a player. The Hawkeyes will have to be mindful of him at all times. He's flanked on both sides by Jarnor Jones and Levi Peters.
Another similarity that Iowa State has with the Hawkeyes is the secondary being the strong point of the defensive unit. The corners are Sam Richardson and Nigel Tribune, while the safeties are Qujuan Floyd and Kamari Cotton-Moya. The standouts, in my opinion, would definitely be Cotton-Moya and Tribune.
Hear from Iowa players Jacob Hillyer, C.J. Beathard, and Jordan Canzeri in the video above and what they expect from the Iowa State defense, and what they have discovered so far off the tape.