Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State vs. Iowa: Final pregame thoughts, prediction

Play Action: Cyclones open season at Kinnick

Iowa State travels to Kinnick Stadium to take on Iowa.
Iowa State travels to Kinnick Stadium to take on Iowa.

Randmon thoughts on the Iowa-Iowa State football game. Kickoff is 4:05 p.m., televised on FOX.

Iowa

Iowa plays a different style of football than Iowa State will face the rest of the season. It won’t be unfamiliar because Iowa never changes its style and the two teams play every year. But the closest Iowa State will come to facing a similar-style team the rest of the season is Kansas State.

Iowa will run its inside zone reads and hit its tight ends on offense. On defense, the Hawkeyes be strong up front, making it hard to run the football. It’s a secret to no one, but Coach Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes have had success with this method.

Against Northern Illinois, Iowa allowed just 101 yards rushing, while rushing for 209 of its own.

Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell has been nothing short of impressed by Iowa’s defensive line and linebackers.

“You talk about a veteran football team — that veteraness lays right there on that defensive front,” Campbell said. “I couldn’t be more impressed. You go back through the last two or three years of this football team and when they’ve needed to make a play, when good things had to happen, that defensive line spearheaded things.

“I think you’re getting maybe one of the best defensive lines in the country. They play hard, they’re consistent, they are going to play as hard as they can for as long as they can and it’s really impressive. I have a lot of respect for them.”

Behind the defensive line, Iowa is breaking in some new linebackers, but Campbell believes the Hawkeyes’ history of success at the position will prevail.

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“I think the best thing, no matter who’s played linebacker for those guys, and believe me, you look at their history and certainly the recent history, those linebackers have been exceptional,” Campbell said. “What allows those guys to be confident and play with ease is that defensive front. The defensive front is so veteran that it really allows those linebackers to play with confidence.

“All four of (the linebackers) have played football for them. Guys that were in package situations, guys that have played a lot of special teams for them, so they’re guys that are confident, guys that know their system.”

Relevant numbers — Quarterback Nate Stanley had a subpar game, completing 11 of 23 passes for just 108 yards last week ... Ivory Kelly-Martin got the bulk of the carries at running back with 16, but Toren Young rushed for 84 yards on just eight carries ... Iowa’s defense held NIU to just 211 yards of total offense.

Iowa State

Kirk Ferentz, like Campbell, complimented his rival’s team. Ferentz had high praise for Iowa State running back David Montgomery.

“I told our guys, I don’t know that we’ll see a better back this season,” Ferentz said. “I don’t know who’s out there, but we’re going to see good players. We always do in our conference. But he’s as good a back as you’re going to face anywhere in the country.

“It starts with him ... He’s a tough, competitive guy, runs extremely hard, and I thought last year when it really counted, that’s when he was at his best. He really kind of, I don’t want to say carried the team, but he sure impacted the game in a really positive way.”

Everyone in the state knows Montgomery had an impressive game last year against Iowa, rushing for 113 yards on 20 carries. Last season, he forced 109 missed tackles, and it seemed like a quarter of them came against Iowa.

“Sideways would be good,” Ferentz said of which way he wants his defense to force Montgomery. “Yeah, the more he goes sideways, the better off it’ll be for us. But he’s good at getting downhill. One guy tackling him — there’s a clip I saw last night, I think about four or five guys on our team had a chance at him, guys in white jerseys, and we couldn’t get it done.

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“He’s a really tough, strong determined guy. Not only does he make yards, but I think what he does to generate energy on their football team, that’s what good players like that do, and he’s certainly that category of a player.

Relevant numbers — Zero games played. Iowa State hasn’t played an official game. It played two series last Saturday, but the Cyclones still need to knock off some rust ... Three-man or four-man front? Against South Dakota State for the one series it played, Iowa State lined up in a three-man front. Iowa likes to run it up the middle, and run it up the middle a lot. Campbell has said he believes Iowa State has the depth to run a four-man front. We’ll see if he’s forced to on Saturday ... Two new offensive linemen. Center Colin Newell and guard Josh Mueller will be thrown right into the fire against Iowa’s defensive line.

Prediction

Iowa 31, Iowa State 28

Iowa State will have too much rust to knock off, including breaking in a new kicker. Iowa wins a nailbiter.

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