Your calendar may say that it’s September 11, 2020, but your eyes are deceiving you. You may think that the yearly Cy-Hawk football game, once scheduled for this weekend, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but you’re wrong. It’s week two of the fledgling 2017 season, the Hawkeyes are heading into Ames, Iowa 1-0, and the only “Corona” I’m familiar with is best served cold on the beach.
How does Iowa stack up against the Cyclones in this game that totally hasn’t happened yet? The Hawkeye defense certainly looked dominant in its win over Wyoming in week one, holding potential first-round draft pick Josh Allen to 164 yards of total offense and only three points while intercepting him twice and sacking him three times.
As good as prospective All-American middle linebacker Josey Jewell and his running mates Ben Niemann and Bo Bower played against what is supposed to be a high-powered Cowboy attack, they should have no trouble containing an ISU offense that struggled to score even a field goal against the black and gold last season.
On offense the Hawkeyes are led by Akrum Wadley, a dynamic playmaker at running back who is a threat to score virtually every time he touches the ball. Wadley is adored by the entire fanbase, and the only thing controversial about this loveable New Jersey native is whether he should cede any carries to graduate transfer James Butler, who was a star in his own right before leaving the University of Nevada for Iowa City and figures to play a major role in first-year coordinator Brian Ferentz’s offense this season.
Iowa’s young quarterback Nate Stanley is the biggest question mark coming into this game. Stanley managed to toss three touchdowns in his first start last week but looked overwhelmed at times, completing only eight of fifteen passes for 125 yards, throwing an interception, being sacked twice, and fumbling three times. The Cy-Hawk game is always tough no matter how bad the Cyclones are, and the Hawkeyes will need greater consistency out of Stanley this week to avoid an upset. Stanley doesn’t need to put up Chuck Long or Chuck Hartlieb numbers for Iowa to win, but it would be nice to see a bit more of the arm talent that allowed Stanley to beat out upper classman Tyler Wiegers for the starting job this offseason.
What can we expect from this game? How should I know, I can’t predict the future! However, with Iowa’s combination of an elite defense and an unproven starting quarterback, anyone gambling on this game would be wise to bet the under.