It is Cy-Hawk week with the 69th edition of the Iowa State Cyclones and Iowa Hawkeyes rivalry game. Both teams enter the week 1-0 in what will be the first Cy-Hawk game played at Kinnick Stadium since 2018. The Hawks are looking for some semblance of offense after a poor showing against South Dakota State. Meanwhile ISU will try to build on a strong performance from redshirt sophomore Hunter Dekkers at quarterback. Here is what you need to know about the Cyclones.
Dekkers can change the Cy-Hawk series
Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes will come to regret not recruiting Hunter Dekkers. The sophomore has done nothing but win —not just in football but everything he competes in. He capped his sophomore season at West Sioux by leading the Falcons to their first Class A State Championship in impressive fashion. He went 20-29 for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Falcons repeated the following year with Dekkers throwing for 391 yards and 5 touchdowns while also rushing for 122 yards and a score.
With over 10,000 yds West Sioux’s Hunter Dekkers is 180 yds from becoming the all-time leading passer in Iowa HS football history!
Watch live as 2x defending champion Falcons plays unbeaten Treynor @WestSiouxCSD @WSboostclub @IHSAA @TreynorNation https://t.co/XFpTI2q0CT pic.twitter.com/xKbkbTDhve
— MetroSportsTV (@metrosportstv) November 4, 2019
Moreover Dekkers creates a unique problem to game plan against.
The Hawkeyes faced a dual-threat quarterback in Mark Gronowski last week and kept him under wraps with relative ease. Dekkers has that same ability, but with a bigger arm and bigger overall frame. He is 6’3 and more than 200 pounds but plays even bigger. Surely Iowa’s pass rush can handle that as long as we do not see any arm tackles.
We saw more of Dekkers’ arm than his legs in week one. He completed more than 80-percent of his passes for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns against a non-major conference team. His game is still nothing to scoff at though. Dekkers will be a thorn in Iowa’s side for the next few years and could turn the tide in the Cy-Hawk series.
Hutchinson creates an intriguing matchup
Wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson had himself a day against Southeast Missouri State as well last week. He hauled in 8 passes for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win. It is nothing new for the senior who has been productive in his last two seasons. The difference is this year he will likely break 1,000 yards for the first time and see his touchdown numbers go up. After all, his career high stands at 5 right now.
Hutchinson is yet another dangerous deep threat Iowa will have to deal with in the vein of Allen Lazard or Hakeem Butler before him. Cody Godwin of the Des Moines Register puts him in that class already. Now we will see which Hawkeye defensive back draws his number. It will not likely be just one back the entire game and safety help is sure to lean Hutchinson’s way. Seeing how Riley Moss and Terry Roberts perform with that assignment will be a better glimpse at what they can do than what we saw last week. We already know Moss is one of the best corners in the nation. Roberts played a tremendous game against the Jackrabbits and Quinn Schulte raised a lot of eyebrows as well. This is where the game could be won or lost for Iowa.
ISU defense will give Iowa opportunities
The big question is “can Iowa’s offense show a sign of life.” The Cyclones will present an opportunity to do just that.
Iowa State did not show us too much of what its defense will look like long term in the first game. Matt Campbell’s group rotated through players throughout, testing out a crop of new faces. They allowed 320 yards and a touchdown. The score came under two minutes before halftime and was one small example of ISU’s inexperience.
Of course all eyes will be on Spencer Petras everytime he drops back to pass. The real game when ISU’s defense is on the field is between the offensive line and Cyclone pass rusher Will McDonald. He is considered an NFL-ready defensive end according to The Athletic and he is coming in fresh. Any miscommunication on Iowa’s part and McDonald will make his presence known.
Will McDonald and his 29.0 career sacks land on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) July 26, 2022
Petras has struggled to recover after feeling the pressure early. This defense is going through a lot of turnover and will give Iowa the chance to make some plays. Can the Hawkeyes take advantage?
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