Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 vs. Big Ten showdown in our Iowa State vs. Iowa preview and prediction.
2:30 p.m. CST, Saturday, September 11th, 2021; Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
Radio: Cyclones Radio Network/Hawkeye Radio Network
Spread: Iowa State -3.5
Fun Fact: 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.
RB Tyler Goodson
Goodson has been named to the Doak Walker and Maxwell Award Preseason Watch Lists. Goodson is averaging 109.6 yards per game (6.0 per carry) during Iowa’s seven-game winning streak dating back to last season. He has eight rushing touchdowns in the last seven games. On Saturday in a win over Indiana, he had 19 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown.
DB Riley Moss
Moss was an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection in 2020 after finishing with 43 tackles, 33 solo stops and 10 assists, along with two interceptions for 111 yards and one touchdown, plus with four pass break-ups. Moss is a veteran with 16 career starts and 31 games played. He’s coming off an incredible week against Indiana with two pick-sixes for 30 and 55 yards and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week. He has eight career interceptions and three pick sixes. Given his knack for finding the ball, one crucial mistake by Brock Purdy could turn this game around.
Iowa State Cyclones
RB Breece Hall
There are several reasons that Hall is the most important player in this game for Iowa State’s offense. First, the obvious, he’s arguably the best at the position in the Big 12. But secondly, getting him going early will ease Iowa State’s offense into the game. Considering they’re coming off a Northern Iowa match up that saw them only put 16 points on the board, there’s no reason for concern around the offense, but considering the uncertainty of Brock Purdy’s favorite target in TE Charlie Kolar, it’s that much more important for Hall to get off to a hot start in this one.
LB Mike Rose
Rose is the reigning Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and he will be busy once again on Saturday trying to slow down Goodson at running back and also having to possibly match up at times with Iowa’s next stud tight end in Spencer Petras. Rose had 11 tackles in the season opener against Northern Iowa on the heels of last season’s 96-tackle campaign that included five interceptions.
QB Spencer Petras continues to win despite his relatively mediocre stat line. He completed 57% of his passes in 2020, with nine touchdowns to five interceptions and on Saturday in a win over Indiana he went 13 of 27 for 145 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. Regardless, he gets the job done as Iowa has won seven in a row dating back to last season. However, Iowa State will be the best team he has faced during his winning streak. The receiver position was hit hard by graduation, so who becomes his go to guy? Keep a close eye on TE Sam LaPorta, who is poised to be the next great Iowa tight end.
Iowa State Cyclones
For the Cyclones, they need their offensive line to win the line of scrimmage. Iowa State has its best offensive line under Matt Campbell and the Hawkeyes lost three starters on the defensive line, including 2020 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in Daviyon Nixon and All-Big Ten Defensive End Chauncey Golston. There are some potential rising stars in Zach VanValkenburg and Yahya Black, but by Iowa standards, this unit is relatively unproven. This is Iowa State’s chance to win this battle, get the running game going early with Hall and win the batle of the trenches.
Prediction: Iowa State 24, Iowa 23
Despite all his success in Ames, Matt Campbell has yet to beat Iowa (the 2020 game was not played). However that changes on Saturday with College GameDay in town and ABC’s top crew on the broadcast. This will be a classic, hard-fought Cy-Hawk battle, but the Cyclones are the more experienced team and well suited to beat Iowa this year with a more balanced offense and a defense that will force Petras to beat them through the air. The Cyclones get it done at home in another close one between Campbell and Kirk Ferentz.