Iowa State defense not overlooking Iowa offense despite week one struggles

Iowa State line backer Colby Reeder (4) attempts to bring down Southeast Missouri State wide receiver Pervis Frazier (8) during the Iowa State, Southeast Missouri State game on Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones defeated the Redhawks, 42-10.

Iowa’s offense made waves around the college football world during its week 1 outing for all the wrong reasons.

The Hawkeyes mustered just three points from the offense, averaged just 1.6 yards per carry on the ground and quarterback Spencer Petras ended the game with a 1.1 quarterback rating.

It’s abundantly clear where the strengths are and aren’t when it comes to Iowa State’s opponent for Saturday, but the guys in Ames won’t be taking their assignments lightly.

“One-hundred percent,” linebacker O’Rien Vance said. “I feel like with any opponent, regardless of what the last week was, that’s not what they’re gonna bring to us. I feel like, for us, our best thing is to treat them as we would treat anyone else and continue to prepare as such. I feel like we’ve done a great job of that.”

It’s a big game for both teams involved, and everyone knows the circumstances.

Iowa State hasn’t seen a 2-0 start since 2012 when it began the year 3-0 and finished its first five games with four wins.

The Cyclones haven’t yet beaten Iowa since Matt Campbell arrived in Ames.

Although, the streak with the most eyes on it might be the 9-0 turnover advantage Iowa has going in Cy-Hawk games dating back to the 2015 contest in Ames.

“Oh, we’re very aware,” safety Anthony Johnson said. “It’s something that you can’t not remember.”

As many fans know, Campbell’s philosophy doesn’t view those turnovers as simply, ‘luck.’

He believes that players have to put themselves in the right spots to gain those opportunities to find turnovers and force hands.

“I feel like every year we’ve played this game has come down to either us doing our job and making the play or them doing their job and them making the play,” Vance said. “It’s the thin line of understanding the margin for errors are slim and trying to do our best to make sure that that does not happen.”

The players believe that, too, and the preparation part of going against this Iowa offense is going to come in hand with just as much weight as it had a year ago and in Cy-Hawk games before that.

“The making sure you’re doing your job and you’re in the right place when you need to be and I feel like there’s been times where (there was a) 50/50 ball and we haven’t gotten them,” Vance said. “I feel like it’s up to us in this defense to make sure that we are doing that and we are attacking the ball and making sure that we’re putting ourselves in those positions to make those plays.”

Saturday afternoon will come to execution for Iowa State, on both an offensive and defensive front.

What wins or loses the game will likely be found out in the final 15 minutes of action, but in terms of what to expect in the 69th Cy-Hawk football game, the answer is simple:

“Just expect a really solid team,” Johnson said. “Bring your chinstraps.”