One of the more competitive matchups in week 2 of the 2012 college football season features an in-state rivalry game between the Iowa State Cyclones (1-0) of the Big 12 and the Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) of the Big 10 this Saturday afternoon (3:42pm ET) at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, IA. Iowa State rolled to a 38-23 win over a competitive Tulsa team in Ames last week, to cover as a 2 point underdog. Iowa squeaked by Northern Illinois 18-17 last week in Chicago with a late rally, failing to cover as a 7.5 point favorite. The last meeting between the two teams was a 44-41 Iowa State triple-overtime victory in Ames last season, when the Cyclones won outright as a 6.5 point underdog.
The Cyclones feature dual-threat quarterback Steele Jantz (1,519 yards passing, 10 TDs, 216 rushing yards and 2 TDs in 2011) on and top receiver Josh Lenz (39 receptions, 510 yards in 2011) on offense. The offense was perfectly balanced last week against Tulsa with 45 runs, 45 passes; and the Cyclones like to throw a lot of screens against aggressive defenses such as Iowa’s. The Cyclone defensive line will be a key to this game, they must go up against Iowa’s always tough running game, and containing RB Damon Bullock, who ran for 150 yards last week against NIU, will be the top priority. Look for ISU to be aggressive in rushing the passer when the Hawkeyes take to the air, as Iowa QB James Vandenberg was sacked 6 times last week.
Iowa must show more in the running game than they did last week, when despite solid rushing totals for Bullock, they averaged a measly 2.8 yards per carry against NIU. The Hawkeye aerial attack and run defense are also areas that need to be improved upon from last week if they hope to avoid a second straight defeat to their in-state rivals. Vandenberg average only 4 yards per pass attempt against NIU, and things do not get easier against an ISU secondary that held Tulsa to 23 completions in 49 attempts (47% completion percentage).
Iowa State vs. Iowa Spread and Betting Odds:
Iowa State Cyclones +4
@ Iowa Hawkeyes -4
Over 49 (-110)
Under 49 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv <- $250 Free Bet
Iowa State vs. Iowa Pick:
Iowa State has not won in Iowa City since 2002, and the Hawkeyes lead the series 39-20. The Cyclones are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games against a team with a winning record and 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against Big 10 teams. Iowa is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record, and 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 home games. The under is 7-1 in ISU’s last 8 games against Big 10 teams, and 9-3 in their last 12 road games. The under is 502 in Iowa’s last 7 games overall and 18-8-1 in their last 27 September games. In head-to-head play, the under is 6-1 in the last 7 meetings between the two teams, and the Cyclones are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 meetings.
Both teams will look to run the football in this game, and the team that has the most success stopping the run will likely be victorious. Iowa is still adjusting to new offensive coordinator Greg Davis, and the Hawkeyes have obviously not worked out all of the kinks in their system yet as evidenced by their woeful offensive performance against NIU. Iowa St. should be able to have some success getting to the quarterback, as NIU did last week. If the Cyclones can get a couple of big plays in the passing game against an Iowa defense that Jantz was able to carve up for 279 yards passing and 4 TDs in last year’s meeting, then they could very well win the game outright. The call here is that the game will not be quite the shootout that it was last year, but the under is a difficult call to make. ISU has a strong record of covering both in recent games in general, and in their meetings with the Hawkeyes, so it makes sense to take the points and the underdog Cyclones here against an Iowa team that looked about as bad is could in a winning effort last week.
PICK = Iowa State +4