IOWA CITY, Iowa - Matt Campbell won't publicly reveal how much winning Saturday's game against Iowa means to him, but we all saw it with our own eyes during the 2019 Cy-Hawk contest. The Iowa State coach yelled towards the Hawkeye sideline in celebrating a first-quarter touchdown on a trick play.
Lip readers deciphered an expletive coming from the normally guarded Campbell after Deshaunte Jones hit La'Michael Pettway for a 51-yard score. Despite it leading to a 14-6, third-quarter ISU advantage, Iowa rallied for an 18-17 victory in a game delayed twice for three hours because of bad weather.
Like his Hawkeye counterpart, Kirk Ferentz, Campbell has attempted to limit emphasis on the annual game against his rival. They've tried to strike a balance of acknowledging its importance while also maintaining that it does not define the season. Most fans haven't bought that approach.
While it's hard to quantify how much winning the Cy-Hawk game means to the head coaches, it's fair to say that, deep down, it's among the contests they most want to win. The in-state recruiting battles are as heated as they've ever been.
Now the teams are meeting as ranked opponents for the first time in series history. Iowa State checks in at No. 9 in this week's AP poll with the Hawkeyes sitting tenth. It's this week's only game pitting Top 10 teams against each other.
Campbell has accomplished a lot in Ames, including winning nine games against ranked opponents in five seasons. He's lost all four meetings versus the Hawkeyes, however, leaving a hole in his resume.
Iowa hasn't turned the ball over in this series since a fourth-quarter fumble in 2015.
"That's the respect you have, honestly, for their program in how they win football games," Campbell said. "They do such a great job of creating the tempo and pace of the game in their favor, and then putting themselves at an advantage to win the football game at the end of the game.
"On the flip side, when you've seen us play at our best, very similar. And, so, you look at our matchups against them and turning the ball over in some critical moments and critical times have really hindered us."
During the last meeting, the Cyclones were receiving a punt late with a chance to drive for the winning score. Instead, an Iowa State player ran into his own return man, causing a muff. Iowa recovered it.
"This is a big game for everyone, especially our veterans. We haven't beaten them yet," all-American ISU linebacker Mike Rose said. "It's definitely on our minds but it's not the main focus for us. We have to know that's on the table and then we also have to treat it as any other game because every game is super important.
"We have to use this game to keep building to where we want to go."
Rose leads a stingy Cyclone defense that yielded just 275 yards to UNI, kept the Panthers out of the red zone and allowed them to cross midfield only three times in last week's game. The 3-3-5 alignment is unlike what Iowa faces in the Big Ten.
"We're used to a 4-3 or a 3-4, so some things are just structurally a lot different," Hawkeye quarterback Spencer Petras said. "There are fundamentals that kind of need to be adjusted from almost every position."
Offensively, Iowa State features all-Americans at running back (Breece Hall) and tight end (Charlie Kolar). Kolar is probable for the game after missing the opener with an injury. Quarterback Brock Purdy, operating behind a veteran offensive line, engineers an attack that stayed relatively basic in the season opener.
The Hawkeyes should expect ISU to open up the playbook.
"Hats off to Brock Purdy. He's an incredible quarterback," Iowa defensive end Joe Evans said. "We just need to be able to contain him and keep him in the pocket. We need to do what we can and be able to execute."
Iowa's defense smothered Indiana. Cornerback Riley Moss delivered two Pick-6s against all-Big Ten quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and the Hoosiers managed just 2.5 yards per rush.
"They've proven to be a good defensive team," Cyclone center Colin Newell said. "They're very committed to what they do. They're extremely talented. They don't mess up. They don't make mistakes.
"For us, we're going to have to go out there and execute at a high level. It's a great opportunity to see where we're at and try to win a game here."
The Hawkeyes will be playing their first road game with fans since facing Nebraska on Black Friday in 2019. They're preparing by piping crowd noise into practice this week.
"It's hard to resemble a stadium full of people, but it does a decent job," Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum said.
TV ANNOUNCERS: Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Holly Rowe on ABC
SERIES: Saturday’s game will mark the 68th meeting in the series. The teams are meeting for the first time as AP ranked opponents. Iowa holds a 45-22 advantage in the series that began with a 16-8 ISU win in 1894.
Iowa has won five straight in the series. The last time Iowa won six straight in the series was when it won 15 in a row from '83-97. The Hawkeyes have won four straight and are 20-8 all-time in games played in Ames.
The teams did not meet between 1935-1976, or 2020. The teams played 43 straight seasons from 1977-2019 before the Big Ten announced in 2020 that it would not play non-conference games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
BETTING LINES: The game opened with Iowa State as a 5-point favorite at Vegas Insiders (VI) on Sunday. That number dropped to 4 in the VI consensus on Monday. The total was at 45.0, down from a 48.5 open.
-Iowa is 3-0-1 Against The Spread (ATS) in its last 4 games as an underdog.
-Hawkeyes are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
-Iowa State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games as a favorite.
-Cyclones are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games.
IOWA STATE PLAYERS TO WATCH
-Brock Purdy, QB – The Arizona product is the winningest QB in Iowa State history with a 24-11 record. In ISU’s last 35 games (Purdy era), the team is averaging 427.9 yards of total offense (14,641) and 31.7 points (1,110). His 9,181 career passing yards ranks third among active FBS players. He's led ISU to six fourth-quarter comeback victories in career.
–Breece Hall, RB – Hall led the nation in rushing last season with 1,572 yards, the third-best season total in school history. The Kansas native's 13-game run with at least one rushing TD is the nation’s best active streak, the longest in school history and second-longest in Big 12 history. In the last 21 games, Hall is averaging 116.9 rushing yards (2,454) and 138.9 scrimmage yards (2,917) with 34 TDs.
-Mike Rose, LB – A native of Ohio, Rose has started all 39 games of his career, the longest active streak on the team. Rose led the Big 12 and tied for third nationally with five picks in 2020. His five interceptions were the most nationally by a linebacker. His 30.5 career TFL ranks T-8th in school history. His six career interceptions are the most by an active NCAA linebacker.
KEYS TO VICTORY
Iowa State: Indiana couldn't run against the Hawkeyes and then felt the wrath of their talented secondary when forced to pass. The Cyclones need balance on offense and to take care of the football.
Iowa: The Hawkeye offense needs to be more consistent and not commit turnovers. Eight of 12 drives against IU consisted of five or fewer plays with two ending in fumbles lost.
-Iowa State won its season-opener vs. UNI last weekend, 16-10. It was the sixth-straight victory at Jack Trice Stadium, one shy from the school record.
-In its last six games dating back to 2020, ISU has given up just 16 points in the second half, averaging 2.6 points after intermission.
-ISU is riding a six-game home-field winning streak, tying for the fourth-best string in school history. ISU is 9-9 vs. ranked opponents since 2017, the ninth-most nationally in that span.
-Iowa kicker Caleb Shudak’s father, Jeff, was an All-Big Eight kicker for Iowa State from 1987-90.
-Iowa State freshman QB Ashton Cook is the son of former Iowa All-American tight end Marv Cook, was a two-time Pro-Bowler in a seven-year NFL career.
-Iowa has won its last seven games. The Hawkeyes have outscored their last seven opponents, 248-89, averaging 35.4 points per game offensively and allowing 12.7 PPG during the winning streak. Iowa has scored at least 25 points in each win.
-Iowa has won four straight games against ranked opponents dating back to 2019. The last time Iowa won five straight against ranked opponents was a six-game stretch in 1960.
-Iowa and Iowa State are meeting as AP ranked opponents for the first time in program history. Iowa has faced a ranked Iowa State team just one time, a 31-0 loss at home in 1978 (Iowa was not ranked).
-The Hawkeyes are 22-4 in their last 26 trophy games (includes bowl games) and 19-4 in their last 23 rivalry trophy games (Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin). Iowa has won five straight against Iowa State, and four straight in Ames.
-Iowa has played 23 straight games without surrendering 25 points, the longest streak in the nation among Power 5 teams. The Hawkeyes rank No. 1 in the Big Ten in scoring defense (6.0), and No. 3 in rush defense (77.0) and pass defense (145.0).
Iowa State – Nancy Cox
Iowa - Stamatios Krimigis
HOWE I SEE IT: If you're thinking Iowa will roll through Ames without any trouble, you should know better. Like Lucy pulling the football away before Charlie Brown can kick it, you don't want to fall on your ass again when you know what's likely coming.
Maybe the Hawkeyes build off of last week's pounding of Indiana and roll ISU on the way to a special season. That's plausible.
Perhaps the Cyclones struggle again as they did in eking out a 16-10 victory against Northern Iowa last week. They wouldn't be the first highly-ranked outfit in the preseason to crash.
I'm not calling for a lopsided affair on Saturday, however. I've fallen on my ass putting too much stock in Week 1 when it comes to this matchup.
Yes, we've witnessed blowouts in the series. More often than not, though, it's been competitive.
I feel much stronger predicting a tight contest than I do picking a winner. If I were wagering, I'd play the under. These are two nasty defenses.
I picked the Cyclones before the season. I'll stick with that because I think they're more proven on offense despite last week's struggles.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 23, IOWA 20
Rob Howe has covered Iowa Hawkeye sports for 25 years and began working at HawkeyeNation.com in 2003. Please follow @HawkeyeNation on Twitter and @RobHoweHN