After Iowa coasted to a week one victory over the Miami (OH) Redhawks, they jump right into rivalry week with the Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa won in Ames last year and will look to do the same inside Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night.
Here are five things you should know as the week progresses.
Iowa State athletic director, Jamie Pollard let go of Paul Rhoads after the season concluded in 2015 after he won just 32 games over a seven year stretch. They then went after coach Matt Campbell, who formerly was the head man at Toledo. Campbell led Toledo to three 9 win seasons over the course of four full seasons as the man in charge. He even had them ranked as high as 19th in the AP Poll in 2015.
Campbell came in and instantly made an impact in terms of recruiting and the general energy level surrounding the football program. At the time, I considered Campbell a home-run-hire for Pollard and the Cyclones.
He lost his first game of the season to the Northern Iowa Panthers, but that doesn't mean people should expect the Cyclones to lay down on Saturday. It's unfamiliar territory for Campbell, but rivalry games like this always seem to be dogfights and I would expect the same this year.
New Starting QB
Joel Lanning played a bunch of snaps late in the year last year after taking over for Sam B. Richardson, who was mediocre to say the least about his senior season. Lanning was solid last season despite losing most of the games he appeared in. Lanning threw for 1,247 yards, 10 touchdowns, and four interceptions last season.
With the graduation of Richardson, that made Lanning the full time guy. He completed 18-28 passes in his first game of the season amassing 256 yards through the air and throwing for three touchdowns. He also tossed two interceptions.
Lanning and Campbell are likely still getting used to one another, but I think Lanning has the potential for a possible breakout year when you consider he has a couple of nice weapons around him in Mike Warren and Allen Lazard. The only problem is, that's about as deep as it goes for the Cyclones. When Lanning watches Iowa's tape against Miami (OH), he may see some things they could take advantage, depending on who is lined up across from Lazard.
Two Big Weapons
The Cyclones possess two pretty lethal weapons in the aforementioned Mike Warren and Allen Lazard. Warren emerged last year as a true freshman just after the Iowa game and would run for nearly 1,400 yards during his first year as a Cyclone. He was kept quiet in Iowa State's first meeting, carrying the ball 12 times for just 30 yards. The Panthers did a good job bottling him up and keeping him contained.
On the other hand, wideout Allen Lazard had a field day on Saturday. He caught six passes from Lanning that totaled 129 yards and a touchdown. Lazard is going to be the biggest key for the Hawkeyes on Saturday given how successful Miami (OH)'s pass game was in the opener. The Iowa State staff will undoubtedly watch the film of that game and probably try to do some of the same things the Redhawks did against the Hawkeyes.
Cyclones Still Adjusting
Iowa has a lot of advantages in this game. For one, I believe they are more talented. Two, they've had the same head coach since 1999. Iowa is used to it's system, they're comfortable with the staff, and not to mention they are at home in Iowa City. The Cyclones are definitely still adjusting to some of the things that Campbell wants to do.
He brought in almost an entirely new staff and players are most likely still adjusting to what they want and how things are going to work. That could be another reason for the week one loss to Northern Iowa. However, the Panthers are no slouch despite being an FCS school. They've consistently given the Cyclones problems over the years.
Iowa should be able to take advantage of a team still working out the kinks.
This was one of the biggest things that jumped out at me from their week one game with the Panthers. They gave up 232 yards rushing to the Panthers, including 114 to QB Aaron Bailey.
This tells me that Iowa should be able to be very efficient running the ball on Saturday. They ran the ball at will against the Redhawks with both LeShun Daniels and Akrum Wadley, so taking advantage of a struggling run defense in the Cyclones will be a big key.
I doubt we'll see C.J. Beathard move around as much as Bailey did for the Panthers, but once Iowa is able to establish the run on Saturday, that should open up passing lanes for Beathard and is receivers, who, for the most part, are still getting their feet wet.