Players from Iowa State and Iowa know there will be plenty on the line this Saturday in Kinnick Stadium when the Cyclones and Hawkeyes meet for the 60th time.
Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz is a native of California but he is aware of what this game means. He became an instant Cyclone “hero” last year after he torched the Iowa defense for more than 300 yards of total offense in a triple overtime victory in Ames.
“You know, you are either a Cyclone fan or a Hawkeye fan and it just means so much to the fans,” Jantz says. Jantz made numerous plays in last year’s game by breaking containment. He knows the Hawkeyes will try to keep him in the pocket.
He says even when a team understands what you are good at, you still have to try and play your game and for him that means running and passing. Jantz says having played in last year’s game will help him this weekend.
“I think any time you’ve face a team before, Iowa or any team, it helps going into the second year. It was a good win for us and kind of a crazy game, just the fact that we played them before is helpful,” Jantz says.
At Iowa the Hawkeyes failed to win any of the games that involved a traveling trophy in 2011. The empty display cases have been moved into the locker room. Senior corner Micah Hyde who says the empty cases are a reminder of past failures as it’s something they have to see every day.
Iowa center James Ferentz believes the offensive line will make strides this week. The pass game struggled and James Vandenberg was sacked six times in last week’s victory over Northern Illinois. “Obviously we didn’t perform how we wanted to Saturday, but they are correctable mistakes, it’s not like its a lack of ability or talent,”Ferentz says.
Iowa State has not won in Kinnick since 2002 an in their last visit two years ago were beaten 35-7. Cyclone senior linebacker A.J. Klein says that is a memory in the back of his mind, and he says Kinnick is a great place to play and he looks forward to getting back there.
He expects a tough challenge even though the Hawkeyes struggled in their season opener. “Their offensive line is still physical and fast like it always has been. I know it’s going to be a great game, it always is, it doesn’t really matter what happened last week,” Klein said. He says there is so much hype for the game that “They are going to be ready to play not matter what.”