Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones gear up for new season
Can you smell it? The scent of brats on the grill, cheap beer, Casey's breakfast pizza at tailgates. It means college football season has arrived.
The big picture: Both the University of Iowa and Iowa State are looking to rebound this year after ending last season with bowl game losses.
Catch up fast: The Hawkeyes got off to a blazing 6-0 start last year including a 23-20 comeback win over Penn State.
- They vaulted to being the No. 2 ranked team in the country before suffering a major upset against Purdue.
- The season ended on a sour note — a 42-3 loss to Michigan in the Big 10 championship and a 20-17 loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl.
Yes, but: There's reason for hope this season. Even though Iowa is starting off unranked, they return two preseason All-Americans on defense. And look to build on last season's record setting year for forced turnovers.
- The offensive side is still a question mark with a young receiver corps and unproven running backs.
What we're watching: The Hawkeyes season kicks off Saturday at 11am vs. South Dakota State.
- The game is at Kinnick Stadium and tickets are still available.
Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State didn't have the run the Hawkeyes did.
Catch up fast: ISU only spent one week ranked in the AP's poll.
- They peaked at No. 23 after upsetting Oklahoma State.
Yes, but: That magic was short-lived. The Cyclones would go on to lose three of their next five games.
- They ended their season with a loss to Clemson in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Hope, you say? Offensively, ISU has some big shoes to fill. They lost their workhorse running back Breece Hall and longtime starting quarterback Brock Purdy to the NFL.
- Hall accounted for 23 touchdowns and more than 1,700 yards last year.
Meanwhile, the defense has its own holes to worry about after losing some key players at linebacker and in the secondary.
- But they have a game changing pass rusher in Will McDonald, who was one of the best in the nation.
What we're watching: How well can the Cyclones rebound? 2020 saw them make their first and only appearance in the Big 12 Championship game before a 2021 let down.
- Their first game is Saturday at 1pm at Jack Rice Stadium against Southeast Missouri State. Tickets are still available.
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