Bragging rights will be on the line in Iowa City on Saturday when Iowa hosts Iowa State in the 58th meeting in the series. Both teams opened with convincing wins. The Hawkeyes rolled past Eastern Illinois 37-7 while the Cyclones downed Northern Illinois 27-10.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the series has been full of tough and competitive games and he expects this week to be the same. He says this is a much different Iowa State team than the one the Hawkeyes beat in Ames last season 35-3. Ferentz says the Cyclones have made great strides as they went on from last year to win a bowl game, and now are in the second year under coach Paul Rhoads.
In fact, Ferentz says the Cyclones are ahead of schedule under Rhoads. He says to win at Nebraska is an example, as he says a big victory like that did not happen to him in his first year. Ferentz says it took him three years to win a bowl game. Ferentz says the Iowa defense has a big challenge this week.
A year ago, I.S.U. rushed for 190 yards against the Hawks. He says they have some big guys on the line and they do a good job, and they have a good running back. Ferentz says six Iowa State turnovers in last year’s game made the final score deceiving. He says any time you have turnovers, it skews things, but he says giving up that many yards is not a “good way to be living.”
Saturday’s game will mark the return of sophomore running back Jewell Hampton. The Indiana native missed the entire 2009 season with a knee injury. Ferentz says he’s pleased that Hampton has been able to work hard and come back and hopes he is able to move forward. Hampton will share time with fellow sophomore Adam Robinson though Ferentz says there is no set rotation.
He says they are both good, physical players who don’t mind blocking. While he says they aren’t the same, they are comparable in a lot of ways, as they are both one year players they expect to improve.
Ferentz says he was impressed by Iowa State’s defense, and probably the biggest change is at linebacker, where they lost some very good players. He says they have a lot of players who have assumed the leadership role, and looked good in the opening game.