Cy-Hawk Thoughts: That Game Was FUN!

Story by Derek Pech

Iowa wide receiver Matt VandeBerg catches a 17-yard touchdown pass in front of Iowa State defensive back Brian Peavy, left, during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Hawkeye and Cyclone fans were treated to an awesome spectacle of entertainment on Saturday. The annual Cy-Hawk football game was an absolute blast this year. That will be my lasting memory of the match-up.

Of course, I’m a Hawkeye fan and since the Hawks came out with the W it is easy for me to remain positive. With that said, Iowa State fans have nothing to be ashamed of. The Cyclones went toe to toe with the Hawkeyes. This game went back and forth, inside out, and upside down. There are no losers in a game like that. One team has to win, and in the end the Hawkeyes made the plays they needed to at the end in order to secure the victory.

I love the Cy-Hawk game, and what I saw on Saturday is all the evidence we need to keep it. The whole debate about whether or not Iowa should keep this game is a moot point if Iowa State can turn their program around, and if Saturday’s performance is any indication Matt Campbell and his staff are doing just that.

It’s pretty incredible to see how far this Iowa State football team has progressed one year into Matt Campbell’s tenure. The Cyclones have an exciting football team with some damn good football players (David Montgomery says HELLO!!!). They are heading in the right direction. I firmly believe at this point that they are starting to turn the corner. That’s a great thing for Cyclone football fans, and that’s a great thing for the rivalry.

Iowa State takeaways

Positives

  • David Montgomery… whoa. That guy is legit. He’s the best RB at Iowa State that I’ve seen in my time paying close attention to the Cyclones (I was too young to care when Troy Davis was there). Montgomery is a huge part of the reason I believe the Cyclone program is headed in the right direction. They need a running game. It’s a must. He brings it. Even if the offensive line is average he brings it.
  • Jacob Park is who we thought he was. He’s a gamer. He gets dialed in on the football field and he has a lot of weapons at his disposal.
  • Allen Lazard ended his Cy-Hawk career with a great game. That was pretty cool to see.

Question Marks? 

  • Tackling. This is a still a major issue. There’s finally quite a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball, but good fundamental tackling is still an issue.
  • Lanning – Sorry Cyclone fans. I’m not sold on him. Harvey and Spears are the best LB’s on the field for the Cyclones. Lanning has been a liability in my opinion. He has flashed a few times, but he has been far too inconsistent. That can’t happen from the MLB position.
  • “Oh Tight End Where Art Though”? So far this season Iowa State TE’s have 2 catches for 15 yards. This is a position that the coaching staff discussed being more of a focal point coming into the season. It hasn’t been at all. In fact, it appears it has been forgotten. With all of the weapons Iowa State has on offense adding wrinkles in with a TE like Chase Allen would be a brilliant strategy. I question why that hasn’t happened yet.

 

Iowa takeaways

Positives: 

      •  Akrum Wadley… Yo! Who is better Wadley or Montgomery? Now that’s a great debate, and there’s no wrong or right answer. Wadley is to Iowa what Montgomery is to Iowa State. Two games into a season where every opponent knows Wadley was going to be the Hawks primary offensive weapon and he has not disappointed. He is a jitterbug out there on the football field. I’d hate to have to try to tackle him. I’d probably blow my knee out, and my hip, and my ankles, and my back all at the same time. The young man is an electrifying football player, and one of the most entertaining Hawkeyes I’ve had the opportunity to watch.

    • Nate Stanley has some stones! Wow. This kid threw for 300+ yards and 5 TD’s in an away game against an arch-rival in a tough environment. He’s only a true sophomore! Stanley is unflappable. His future is as bright as the sun. He put up those numbers aside from overthrowing wide open receivers three or four times. Just think if he had connected on a couple of those!? Either way Hawk fans should be thrilled they get to see this young man don the black and gold for the next few years. He has been a pleasant surprise two games into the season.
    • I have to give a shout-out to all of Iowa’s wide receivers and TE’s. The passing game was a giant question mark heading into this season, and on Saturday it was the reason the Hawks came away with the win. Kudos to the steady performance of Nick Easley and Matt Vandeberg, the stardom of Noah Fant, and the emerging talent that is Ihmir Smith-Marsette. This group of guys has outperformed expectations.

 

  • Lastly, how did that victory cigar taste there Brian Ferentz? The young Ferentz deserves major props for the game he called on Saturday. For the most part, I have been thoroughly impressed with what he has done with the Iowa offense. He has mixed it up very well. He has added new wrinkles. Most importantly, he has made Iowa more UNPREDICTABLE. Something they haven’t been in as long as I can remember.

Negatives:

  • The Hawkeye pass defense was awful on Saturday. Granted Iowa State has an incredibly talented passing attack, but that doesn’t mean it is ever acceptable to give up 347 yards and 4 TD’s through the air. I guarantee you they aren’t happy about it. I’m sure this will be a point of emphasis moving forward. Lots of tape to watch.
  • Stanley missing on 4 wide open TD passes… The kid played an outstanding game, but I’d be far too kind if I didn’t mention these blown opportunities. Big plays change games, and these all could have been huge plays for the Hawks. Stanley has a cannon for an arm, but he’ll need to continue to work on finding his touch.
  • Get AJ Epenesa on the field more. When he is in he makes plays. It’s as simple as that. I think he should be playing more. Just my opinion at this point in the season. Parker Hesse’s interception was huge. This is in no way a knock on Parker. I just think AJ deserves more reps.
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