Iowa State entered the 2021 season with all kinds of hype, after an impressive breakout season a year ago. The Cyclones went 9-3, with a big Fiesta Bowl win over Oregon to end the year.
Oklahoma remains the significant favorite in the Big 12, but plenty are aboard the Cyclones train this fall. That hype train may not have been totally derailed, but it certainly lost some steam with today’s game.
Iowa State opened the season with FCS club Northern Iowa. They really struggled to separate from the Panthers, winning the game 16-10.
Star quarterback Brock Purdue was 21-for-26, but was held to 199 yards through the air and 58 on the ground. He did not score a touchdown. Breece Hall, one of the nation’s top running backs, only managed to run for 69 yards and a score in the game.
CFP hopeful Iowa State staying just ahead of a Northern Iowa team that went 3-4 in FCS this spring. 👀 https://t.co/oYShmD61aV
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 4, 2021
There was nothing pretty about Iowa State’s win over Northern Iowa on Saturday besides the fact it ended in a win. Fixing the things that made it ugly this week will be the key ahead of a much anticipated Cy-Hawk battle writes @JaredStansbury. https://t.co/9rr0P3lYrK
— CycloneFanatic.com (@cyclonefanatic) September 5, 2021
If you were hoping to see a top-10 team Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium, you were probably disappointed. But if you were just expecting a W, you're satisfied https://t.co/XMiVqswvjB
— Travis Hines (@TravisHines21) September 5, 2021
It certainly isn’t a referendum on the year to come for the Cyclones. Oklahoma also struggled against what should have been an overmatched opponent, eeking one out against Tulane 40-35. Struggling with FCS and smaller conference teams is nothing new for ISU either.
Just last year, Iowa State lost its opener to Louisiana 31-14, before going on a great run through the rest of the season. The Ragin’ Cajuns ended up being very good, but it still wasn’t an ideal opener for the Cyclones.
In 2019, ISU needed triple overtime to beat this same Northern Iowa squad in the opener, 29-26, before going 7-6 (5-4).
Of course, elsewhere in the state, Iowa blew out Indiana, one of the best teams in the Big Ten a year ago. Those two will face off in Ames next Saturday, and right now Iowa fans have to be flying high in anticipation of that one.
Game 1 Report card for Iowa State: Not great.
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) September 5, 2021
Iowa State hangs on 16-10 in its annual sleepwalk Week 1 performance.
Now, the most epic of Cy-Hawk games next week in Ames.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 4, 2021
Will be an interesting AP ranking for Cy-Hawk week
Iowa State will drop out of top ten
Iowa may vault into top ten
But all that matters is both are 1-0
— Chris Hassel (@Hassel_Chris) September 4, 2021
Next week’s Cy-Hawk Game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET on ABC. There will be as much hype for that rivalry bout as there has been in a long, long time.