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Cy-Hawk week in Iowa City: Hawkeyes confident going into top-10 matchup as Kirk Ferentz emphasizes state’s prominence
Saturday marks the first time both schools will be ranked, let alone in the top 10 of the country, going into the Cy-Hawk rivalry
IOWA CITY — Iowa junior running back Tyler Goodson talks about the Cy-Hawk rivalry like he’s eating a gourmet meal at a fast food restaurant.
That’s metaphorically, of course — he didn’t say that.
“It’s very lovely, the town is very lovely,” Goodson said. “Just going around campus and seeing the disrespectful signs and gestures just grows your love for the game and love for the rivalry.”
That was also before this week’s Associated Press poll came out, cementing that not only will this be the first time Iowa and Iowa State play each other as Top 25 opponents, but also as top-10 teams. Iowa State comes in at No. 9, down from No. 7, while Iowa moved from No. 18 to No. 10 following last week’s 34-6 victory over then-No. 17 Indiana.
Goodson doesn’t even think the location makes for an advantage for the Cyclones, it’s just fuel for him as a player.
“It makes me want to put on a show,” Goodson said. “I’m sure their fans are in their heads about wanting to beat the Hawkeyes, it’s like their Super Bowl. They haven’t beat us in a couple years. So, I think them being at their home place knowing that College GameDay will be there is a good distraction for them and allows us to focus on us.”
Goodson wasn’t short on what he brings to the table, either. He was on the preseason Doak Walker Award watch list alongside Iowa State running back Breece Hall. Hall amassed 1,752 yards last season, including 1,572 yards on the ground (5.6 per carry). He caught 23 passes for 180 yards through 12 games. Through eight games, Goodson had 914 yards, including 762 on the ground, where he averaged 5.3 yards per carry. He caught 15 passes for 152 yards.
Their styles of play and statures are different. Hall is 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, while Goodson is 5-foot-10, 190. But the competition will be magnified.
“I would say I have more versatility,” Goodson said. “He’s a big dude, has a lot of power. I think I can get out the backfield and catch the ball a little bit more, have a little bit more agility, but all around, he's a good back as well. I think he could do those things as well, but I think I can do it at a better rate.”
While the two teams did not meet last year, the veterans of the team are not only familiar, but also echoed Goodson’s confidence going into the game.
Iowa senior wide receiver Nico Ragaini comes off a week where he caught two passes for 21 yards against an Indiana secondary that came into the matchup as one of the highest ranked in the country.
Ragaini also started against Iowa State in 2019 and it was one of his better games. He led the team team with five receptions for 43 yards, including one for 18 yards. He also returned a punt for 15 yards, which led to Iowa’s only touchdown of the game.
“Being my third time playing against them (Iowa State), it's starting to become more comfortable for me understanding their defense,” Ragaini said. “I feel like they just try to make their defense as simple as possible for all their people. If you could just understand that as an offensive player in the game, the film and watch everything that they do, then I think we should be okay.”
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz was unaware of the rankings released when he stepped into Tuesday’s news conference, but noted that the rivalry is not only important to the state, but puts Iowa, a state with a population of just over 3 million, on the map as a place for high-quality football.
“I think the bigger story is that you have two teams that are, arguably, established. There's a reason why they're in the top 10 to start with,” Ferentz said. “I can't imagine there's anything even close to this right now. There is no Wisconsin State, Nebraska State, Utah — there is a Utah State, but you get the picture. There's only so many players to go around.”
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