Sept. 7, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz understands the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series rivalry because he has been a part of more than 1/3 of the all-time meetings.
Saturday will be the 63rd encounter between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones on the football field. It will be game No. 26 for Ferentz in the heated in-state affair.
“It has been a great series through the years, and it is an exciting football game for all of our players that grew up in the state of Iowa,” Ferentz said Wednesday inside the All-American Room in the Stew and LeNore Hansen Football Performance Center. “For them to have an opportunity to play in this game is a special thing. It’s going to be an exciting environment.”
Iowa and Iowa State have six starters apiece that hail from the Hawkeye State. Iowa has 17 homegrown players and two specialists on their two-deep; the Cyclones have 11 and two specialists.
“The heart and soul of our team come from this state. Our great leaders tend to be the guys that played high school football in this state, and that’s important in this game. They have an appreciation and they’re the guys that do a good job of sharing it with other players that come from other places.”
UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
“The heart and soul of our team come from this state,” said Ferentz. “Our great leaders tend to be the guys that played high school football in this state, and that’s important in this game. They have an appreciation and they’re the guys that do a good job of sharing it with other players that come from other places.”
The 2015 edition of the rivalry will take place in the newly renovated Jack Trice Stadium at 3:45 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 12. The road team has won the last three meetings, including a 27-21 Iowa victory in 2013 in Ames.
“It has been a tough atmosphere. I go back to 1981, it was no walk in the park back then,” said Ferentz. “We know it’s going to be tough walking in there. It was tough two years ago, and they’d say the same thing about coming here.
“It’s going to be a lively, vivacious crowd, they’re going to be loud, and it’s one more thing as the road team that you have to try to overcome to be successful.”
Ferentz has a nice trump card heading into Iowa’s first road game of the 2015 season — a rushing attack that spurned out 210 yards, averaging 4.8 yards per attempt in the season opener against Illinois State.
Junior LeShun Daniels, Jr., and senior Jordan Canzeri combined for 242 yards of total offense against the Redbirds. Daniels had a game-high 123 yards rushing, while Canzeri had 118 yards of total offense, including four catches for 90 yards.
“They completed each other well (against Illinois State),” said Ferentz.”If we could keep that kind of rhythm going that would be wonderful.”
Ferentz says the Cyclones are a tale of two cities.
Offensively, Iowa State is a veteran group with a senior quarterback in Sam Richardson that has 27 career starts and receiving corps that returns three players that have posted 40-catch seasons. Defensively, the Cyclones revamped unit courtesy of the junior college ranks.
“Offensively, they are settling into what they’re doing and have an identity,” said Ferentz. “Defensively, there is an injection of good energy, and they played well (against UNI).”
Ferentz says Iowa will have its hands full with the Cyclones’ receivers — a group that lines up 6-foot-6 (D’Vario Montgomery), 6-foot-2 (Quenton Bundrage), and 6-foot-5 (Allen Lazard).
“It has to be a team thing,” said Ferentz. “Our secondary has to do a good job, and there are going to be some balls that we’re going to have to try to fight for and come out ahead on.
“They have good size at the receiver position, which is concerning. We’re going to have to do a good job trying to get pressure and trying to reroute and things like that. If we let those guys run the routes they want to uncontested, it’s going to be a long night.”
Ferentz was thankful to everyone for showing support to Tyler Sash’s family over the last 24 hours. Sash passed away Sept. 8 in Oskaloosa.
“Tyler was a special young man in our program, had a great career, was extremely competitive, and did a lot of great things,” said Ferentz. “I want to thank everybody involved, our fans, former players, everybody showing support to Tyler’s family and the Hawkeye family. That includes many people from Iowa State… their support is very much appreciated and very, very special.”
Iowa is planning on honoring Sash during Saturday’s game.
“We will find a tasteful way to pay tribute,” said Ferentz. “His family was very receptive to that.”