Iowa State struggled in its season opener against Northern Iowa but got an extra week to prepare for its biggest nonconference rival while sitting out Week 2. The Cyclones will try to notch a signature win of the first month when they host No. 18 Iowa on Saturday.
Iowa State needed three overtimes to earn a 29-26 victory over Northern Iowa and was happy for the extra week off to make necessary adjustments after the lackluster debut. "It's really good to have an opportunity to step back and say, 'Is what we're doing the right thing? Where do we need to get better? What are the things that might help our offense or might help our defense?' I believe it, too," offensive coordinator Tom Manning told the Ames Tribune. "There is a tremendous growth when you get one under your belt and figure out what's next." What's next is a date with a Hawkeyes team that knocked off its first two opponents by a combined score of 68-14 and tuned up for the rivalry by shutting out Rutgers 30-0 in Week 2. "(Iowa State gives) you looks that are similar to what we had last week with Rutgers, so hopefully it was good preparation," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told the school's athletic website. "Iowa State has done a great job, and one of the secrets behind their success is the way they have been playing defense the last two years. We have a lot of respect for their offensive football team, they have done well moving the football, and they have played as good of defense as anybody in their conference the past two years."
TV: 4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Iowa - 2.5.
ABOUT IOWA (2-0): Hawkeyes quarterback Nate Stanley came into the season with high expectations and is living up to the hype with 488 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions through the first two games. "He really looks like he's comfortable and in control," Ferentz told reporters of Stanley. "Those two things. That's something you can't hand a player. It's a really tough position to play. ... He's worked hard and been through highs and lows and a lot more highs than lows, fortunately. I think right now we're seeing a guy who really feels good, and the guys around him are doing a good job, too." Stanley, a senior, is trying to go out 4-0 against the Cyclones after coming in as a backup his freshman year and starting the rivalry game the last two campaigns.
ABOUT IOWA STATE (1-0): The Cyclones managed to survive Northern Iowa in Week 1 thanks in large part to the connection between quarterback Brock Purdy and wide receiver Deshaunte Jones, who finished with career highs of 14 catches for 126 yards. "It wasn't the game plan to just throw the ball to Deshaunte in the early part of the game," Purdy told reporters. "It's just the way it happened. I feel comfortable passing to him. I feel comfortable throwing to all the guys. It could be someone else in the next game." The 14 catches for Jones, who was held to one catch in last season's 13-3 loss at Iowa, marked the most in a game for an Iowa State player since 1983.
1. Iowa leads the all-time series 44-22 and owns a four-game winning streak.
2. Cyclones DE JaQuon Bailey (18.5) needs one sack to pass Shawn Moorhead (2004-06) for the school record.
3. Hawkeyes DB Michael Ojemudia recorded an interception in each of the first two games.