For the first time since 2014, the Cy-Hawk Trophy came to Ames, as Iowa State emerged with a 10-7 win over Iowa in the rain in Kinnick Stadium. A well-played game this was not, as both teams made several mistakes throughout the contest and the final score reflected that.
So, why did the Cyclones pull off the win over the Hawkeyes? Let’s take a look at the winners and losers from this matchup in Iowa City.
Winner: Iowa State Defense
The Hawkeyes’ offense has now looked horrendous for two weeks running but credit the Iowa State defense for taking control of the game and never letting Iowa get any momentum. The Cyclones forced three turnovers, marking the first time since 2015 that Iowa coughed up the football against Iowa State.
But the Cyclones’ defensive performance goes well beyond that, as Iowa State stood firm in the face of two blocked punts. The Hawkeyes got their only touchdown off a blocked punt on Iowa State’s first drive, but the second block produced nothing after the Hawkeyes fumbled on the 1-yard-line. Iowa State then controlled the football for 21 plays and 12 minutes, going 99 yards for a touchdown that proved the winner.
That doesn’t happen without rock-solid defense from the Cyclones. Iowa punted six times, turned the ball over three times and failed to convert a fourth down, managing just seven points for the game.
Even on those seven points, the Hawkeyes started on Iowa State’s 20. Other than two ill-timed penalties that allowed Iowa a shot at a game-tying field goal, this was a fantastic performance on defense from everyone in cardinal and gold.
Last week, @HawkeyeFootball tallied two safeties.
This week, it has two blocked punts. pic.twitter.com/iuHYce0p0p
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) September 10, 2022
Loser: Spencer Petras and Brian Ferentz
Yes, Iowa is missing two of its top receivers right now and was hit hard in the transfer portal. But that said, this is not working for Petras or the younger Ferentz by any stretch of the imagination. Petras was again terrible for the Hawkeyes, and he’s now thrown one touchdown against nine interceptions for his past eight starts since the win over Penn State in 2021.
Here’s how bad things are for the Iowa passing offense right now: Former Hawkeye Charlie Jones already has 286 receiving yards in two games at Purdue. Not only is that more yards than Petras has thrown for in 2022, but it’s just 37 yards shy of Jones’ total for all of last year. To make matters worse, this year, Petras turned the ball over when all he needed to do was not make a backbreaking mistake for Iowa to win.
Nobody is expecting Petras to become Aidan O’Connell or C.J. Stroud, but the bottom line is that the Hawkeyes have a championship defense and outstanding special teams, and they’re letting them go to waste with an offense that would struggle in the Ohio Valley. Either it’s time to turn to Alex Padilla or it’s time for Kirk Ferentz to move on from letting his son call the plays.
Winner: Lukas Van Ness and the Iowa Punt Blockers
The Hawkeyes were sensational on special teams again, blocking two Iowa State punts and setting up the offense inside the Iowa State 20 on two occasions. The Hawkeye offense squandered one of the gifts, but that doesn’t take away from what the special teams accomplished. Iowa came up big on punt blocks a week after the Hawkeyes’ punt team created two safeties by pinning South Dakota State.
Van Ness got his hands on both punts for the two blocks, but the whole unit was outstanding. The only reason I’m singling out the punt blockers and not the whole special teams is that Aaron Blom missed a 48-yard field goal that would have forced overtime. That’s a tough kick in the rain, but it’s still reasonable for a college kicker to make it. That was the only real error of the day for the Hawkeye special team’s unit.
Lukas Van Ness named Big 10 Special Teams POTW after blocking two punts vs. Iowa State, a first for a Hawkeye since 2003.
That’s now back-to-back honors for LeVar Woods’ unit to start the season #Hawkeyes
— Jett Beachum (@JetthroTV) September 12, 2022
Winner and Loser: Iowa State Offense
On one hand, the Cyclones did enough on offense to win the game. On the other, they still almost bumbled their way to another loss in this rivalry matchup. The Cyclones still turned the ball over three times because they tried to do too much, and they also got two punts blocked that could have started the game sliding in Iowa’s direction.
Yet they won the game because they went on a 21-play, 99-yard drive that took up 40% of the second half. Too often over the past six meetings, Iowa State has pressed when it didn’t have to and ended up playing right into Iowa’s hands. This time, the Cyclones made mistakes, but they did enough right with the football to avoid disaster.
It’s no good. The #Cyclones find a way to get it done in Iowa City winning 10-7 in one of the ugliest games you’ll see.
ISU fans will not care how it looks though, they hoist the Cy-Hawk Trophy.
— Jacob Lenzendorf KTVO (@KTVOJacob) September 10, 2022
Loser: Kirk Ferentz
Not only has Ferentz failed to retain the Cy-Hawk Trophy with his first loss to Matt Campbell, but the Hawkeyes’ September situation has become much more difficult. Iowa shouldn’t have any issues with a weak Nevada squad, but the Hawkeyes now face the very real possibility of a 2-2 start given their upcoming trip to resurgent Rutgers on Sept. 24.
With Michigan and Ohio State both on the schedule this year out of the East, Iowa was already going to have a hard time matching last year’s 10 wins. But with the offense showing no progress, even eight wins might now take Ferentz’s best work.
Feature Image by Phil Roeder on Flickr