The Iowa Hawkeyes will take a 2-0 record into Saturday’s 55th meeting with Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have been installed as a better than two touchdown favorite after blanking Syracuse 35-0. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says it’s a big game for all involved with the in-state rivalry, and to say it’s not a big game "would be silly."
Ferentz knows being the favorite can mean little in this series. Two years ago the Hawkeyes took a lofty national ranking into Ames only to be hammered by the underdog Cyclones 23-3. He says they know from experience that it’s a tough environment and tough ballgame. Ferentz says the Cyclones are capable of making big plays.
Ferentz has been pleased with the balance the Iowa offense has displayed the first two weeks. After using the ground game to beat Northern Illinois the Hawks used an explosive passing game in the victory over Syracuse. Ferentz says anybody can make something more tough on you and Syracruse tried to make them throw the ball more. He says they expect something of the same Saturday, and the key is to execute what you have to do to overcome the defense.
Ferentz is happy with the way the defense had played even though the competition will get much better. He says the guys up front are doing a good job, and says if you play good defense you have a chance.
Ferentz says sophomore quarterback Jake Christensen showed a lot of improvement between the first and second games, saying his awareness has been good. Ferentz says this is the first time for Christensen in front of a hostile crowd, and he says it will be a new experience for him.