Iowa State travels east on Saturday looking for its first win over the host Iowa Hawkeyes since Matt Campbell took over as Cyclones head coach for the 2016 season.
Could this be the year? Iowa State (1-0) opened its season last week by pulling away from a 21-10 halftime lead to throttle visiting Southeast Missouri State 42-10.
Iowa (1-0) had a decidedly more difficult time in Iowa City, with the defense (two safeties) outscoring the offense (one field goal), but still beating perennial FCS power South Dakota State 7-3 last Saturday.
Perhaps it’s not such a surprise that one of the questions for Campbell at his weekly press conference was about Iowa’s punter, Tory Taylor, who averaged 47.9 yards on 10 punts.
“He’s an outstanding player. … Talk about the ability to change field position,” Campbell said. “They’re also really good in their coverage units. They also have 10 other guys who do a great job around him.”
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said he was impressed with Iowa State’s Hunter Dekkers, a first-year starter at quarterback. Dekkers completed 25 of 31 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns with one interception in the season opener.
“He really looked poised. Made good throws the other day, and they hit some big plays,” Ferentz said. “They’ve got a good group of receivers. Tough to defend. But the biggest thing, he just looked like he was totally under control … and he can pull it down and run it, too.”
Eight of Dekkers’ completions, and three of his touchdowns, went to wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson.
“He’s a really good football player, and then on top of it they do a really good job of moving him around, so he’s not always in plays,” Ferentz said. “You don’t know where he’s going to show up, and they did a nice job the other day of getting a personnel mismatch and they made the opponent pay for it.”
Iowa starting quarterback Spencer Petras completed only 11 of 25 passes for 109 yards last Saturday, and Ferentz fell far short of endorsing him as the long-term starter over junior Alex Padilla.
“Our intention right now is to go out and play, and we’ll evaluate everything as it comes,” Ferentz said.
The sputtering offense drew some boos from the home crowd over the weekend.
“Everybody on the team is human, so I’m sure they hear it,” Ferentz said of his players. “I’m going to say it’s unfortunate, but it’s just — it is what it is. It’s sports and that’s the world we live in today.”
Campbell said Iowa’s absences on offense make it difficult to know what to expect this weekend.
“First games are first games, so it’s really hard to evaluate, especially when you have a lot of guys out, but I think there’s a lot of impressive pieces with that,” he said.
–Field Level Media