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KEYS TO THE GAME IN REVIEW: IOWA HAWKEYES VS. IOWA STATE CYCLONES

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I have a man-crush on Wadley and Daniels, and you should, too.

Iowa State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

IT’S A HAWKEYE STATE. C.J. BEATHARD IS GOING TO WIN THE HEISMAN TROPHY. MEERCAT IS GETTING MARRIED. WADLEY AND DANIELS ARE UNSTOPPABLE. I LOVE EVERYTHING!!!!

Iowa left no doubt on Saturday as to who is the best team in the state. They manhandled the Cyclones and showed that they can play dominant football, which was one of the many gripes of the national pundits throughout last season. I know it’s only Iowa State, but this was a statement win that should hopefully give the Hawkeyes confidence moving forward.

With that, it’s time to review our Keys to the Game.

Defended Kinnick

We talked last week about the potential match-up of Hawkeye cornerback Desmond King against Cyclone wide receiver Allen Lazard. I thought that the most critical part of this game was going to be how the Hawkeyes defended Lazard. Early in the week, King told the media that the game plan was for him to cover the Cyclones’ top receiving target. Well, it turns out that Des was able to fool the opposition and even the Hawkeye faithful. Iowa’s defensive game plan didn’t look any different than usual, and it didn’t need to. The Hawkeyes held the Cyclones to only 3 (three) points and 291 yards of total offense. Just for fun, let’s just look at the Iowa State drives for the entire game:

  1. Punt
  2. Punt
  3. Field Goal
  4. Punt
  5. Turnover on downs
  6. Punt
  7. Punt
  8. Punt
  9. Interception
  10. Punt
  11. Punt
  12. Punt

I hope Iowa State punter Colin Downing gave his leg an ice bath, because it sure saw a lot of action on Saturday night. Other than the drive that resulted in a field goal, I can’t remember a time that I felt ISU was seriously threatening to score. It turns out that Kinnick was never really in danger, after all.

Weathered the Storm

I also thought that Iowa may have a challenge in preparing for this game, as there was very little film available of the the Cyclones under Matt Campbell. Again, the Hawkeyes scored 42 points and only allowed 3, proving that they were well-prepared for their in-state rival. However, Iowa State also managed to beat themselves. The one thing that teams should be able to do, no matter how untalented or inexperienced they may be, is to play fundamentally sound football. If I’m a Cyclone fan (and I thank the good Lord on a daily basis that I am not), I would not feel too good about my team committing twice as many penalties as Iowa (10 for ISU vs. only 5 for Iowa) while turning the ball over once (compared to Iowa’s zero). Iowa State looked sloppy throughout the entire game. It looked more like a performance from a high school scrimmage than a Power 5 college football team. This year’s game has made us pose the question: Is it even worth playing Iowa State on an annual basis?

Thunder and Lightning

As expected, Akrum Wadley, A.K.A Barry Sanders, and LeShun “All I Do is Rip Off Long Touchdown Runs” Daniels both came up big on Saturday night. Wadley hauled in a 26-yard pass from C.J. Beathard for a touchdown in the first quarter and added another touchdown run on the ground. Daniels scored a touchdown from 43 yards out, show-casing his speed and letting the world know that Thunder can also bring the lightning. These two players are critical to the Hawkeyes’ success. They open up the pass game for Beathard and appear to be tough to prepare for. Akrum is basically a video game and will easily get a 99 rating on Madden someday. LeShun Daniels could take on an army of Persians by himself and come out victorious. Basically, you can mark these two guys down as a lock for the Keys to the Game until the end of time. In fact, I’m just going to go ahead and do that so that I can stop writing about them and my football man crush on them can become a little less obvious.

Bunch of Jokesters

As we discussed in the Keys to the Game from Friday morning, Allen Lazard apparently was under the impression that the Big Ten Conference was a joke. Well, the Big Ten now has 2 of the top 4 teams in the country and 5 teams in the top 13, according to this week’s AP Poll. I know that doesn’t necessarily prove that any of those teams could match-up with the mighty Cyclones of Iowa State. If only one of those Big Ten teams could play Iowa State and settle this once and for all...Oh wait! I forgot about the 39-point curb-stomping that #13 Iowa gave Iowa State in prime time on Saturday. Insert every comment imaginable about the Iowa State Cyclones actually being the joke here: _____________________

The Prediction

My hits from last Friday:

Iowa is better than Iowa State in every phase of the game. The Hawkeyes’ experience on both the offensive and defensive lines should allow them to control the line of scrimmage and win the battle in the trenches. The Hawkeyes feel like they have unfinished business after the way the 2015 season ended, and an added layer of motivation from Allen Lazard himself will fuel their desire to bury the Cyclones. The Swarm will weather the storm and walk off the field carrying the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the second consecutive year. It’s a Hawkeye State, and that’s no joke.

Nailed it.

Predicted score: Iowa 38, Iowa State 10 (I thought ISU would at least score a touchdown...)

Actual score: Iowa 42, Iowa State 3 (I was wrong...)