By Brendan Stiles
To get you all ready for Saturday’s game between Iowa and Iowa State, I put together a list of things you ought to know before heading to Kinnick Stadium.
At the end, I’ll provide what I think are three keys to an Iowa victory.
Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (1-0)
Kinnick Stadium; Iowa City, Iowa
Sept. 8, 2012
2:30 p.m. Central
TV: BTN (Kevin Kugler, Chris Martin, Chuck Long, Jon Jansen)
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (Gary Dolphin, Ed Podolak, Rob Brooks)
Weather: 69 degrees; sun; wind from NW
Brendan’s Three Keys to the Game:
1. Don’t let Iowa State break contain
Whether it’s Steele Jantz, Shontrelle Johnson or James White running around with the football, Iowa’s defense cannot allow any of them to break contain like they did in last year’s contest at Jack Trice Stadium. This is what allowed Iowa State to sustain drives and what killed the Hawkeyes more than anything else in the 44-41 triple overtime loss. If Iowa struggles with this again, the defense is going to be in for another long afternoon.
2. Yards after catch
Iowa State is going to blitz like crazy afternoon for two reasons: 1. It’s part of the Cyclones’ defensive identity; 2. Iowa’s offensive line struggled mightily at picking up the blitz last week against Northern Illinois to the tune of surrendering six sacks. The Hawkeyes’ offense is heavily predicated on the short passing game, so with this in mind, Iowa’s going to need guys like Keenan Davis, Kevonte Martin-Manley, C.J. Fiedorowicz and others to pick up yards after the catch. If big plays can be made by these guys in those types of situations, it’s going to open up the running game, which might actually play to Iowa’s strength this week.
3. Win the turnover battle
Iowa cannot afford to give Iowa State any short fields to work with on Saturday. Conversely, the Hawkeyes need to force turnovers if they’re going to get to Jantz’s head. One of the biggest reasons why Iowa had previous success against Iowa State was because it not only won the turnover battle, but dominated it. Last year, it was a Marcus Coker fumble that gave the Cyclones life and from that point on, Iowa State outplayed Iowa. Whoever forces more turnovers is winning this game, plain and simple.