AMES -- This is the big one, if you’re a fan of college football in the state of Iowa.
The Cy-Hawk Series.
The 43rd annual playing of this contest is 3 p.m. Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, and it almost became the first one since the series resumed where both teams were ranked at the time of playing.
Iowa State (1-0) slipped to the first spot out of this week’s Top 25 after an open date last weekend. It is still the most anticipated game since the series resumed in 1977, a year before the Cyclones were last ranked in the AP preseason poll until this season.
ISU dropped four spots to No. 25 after opening with a triple-overtime victory over Northern Iowa.
The Hawkeyes have won the last four games in the series, and lead 44-22 overall, but their edge is only 11-10 the past 21 meetings. Iowa State has won seven home games in a row since the start of last season to match the school record.
The Cyclones are riding a seven-game home winning streak, tying for the school’s best in school history and is the 15th-best active streak in the FBS. They’ve also done well against ranked teams, three of them coming over top-6 opponents since 2017: Okalahoma and TCU in 2017, West Virginia a year ago.
This is Iowa State’s first time hosting ESPN’s “College GameDay.” Iowa is making its sixth appearance on College GameDay; the Hawkeyes are 1-6 all time, lone win a 21-10 over fourth-ranked Penn State in 2009.
IOWA STATE NOTES
Other Cyclone notes:
• Close games have been the norm in the last three Iowa State seasons. Iowa State, Oklahoma and Washington are the only “power 5” schools to avoid a loss of over 14 points in the last three seasons. ISU’s worst loss since 2017 was a 24-10 setback at Texas in 2018.
• Iowa State didn’t allow an offensive touchdown in regulation of its first game vs. UNI. The Cyclones allowed just six offensive points before the game went into overtime.
• With just 34 yards rushing allowed, the Cyclones rank fifth nationally in rushing defense. ISU allowed just 1.1 yards per rush vs. UNI, the lowest total since 2005. ISU allowed just 229 yards in regulation.
• ISU had 10.0 tackles for losses in the UNI win, the sixth time since 2017 the Cyclones had double-digits in TFL in a game.
• ISU returns all five starters on its offensive line and had 114 combined career starts returning entering the season, the fifth-highest total among FBS teams: Oregon (153), Wake Forest (131), ULM (130), Texas Tech (116), Iowa State (114). All five starters are from Iowa.
• Wide receiver Deshaunte Jones had a career-best 14 receptions for 126 yards. With 122 career receptions, Jones needs four catches to break into ISU’s career top-10 in that category.
• Sophomore QB Brock Purdy threw for 278 yards and set a career high in completions with 30 vs. UNI, tying for the 10th-best single-game total in school history.
Via the Iowa Hawkeyes sports department:
• Quarterback Nate Stanley has six touchdown passes and no interceptions in 2019. He has 58 career touchdowns passes, third all-time in program history. He trails Chuck Long (74) and Drew Tate (61) on the all-time list.
• Stanley is expected to make his 29th consecutive start at quarterback; he’s 19-9 as starter.
• The Hawkeyes have averaged 30 points per game in the last 28, fifth-most in school history and 10th nationally among active quarterbacks.
• Defensive end A.J. Epenesa leads a defense that ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring defense (7.0), total defense (185.0), and passing defense (116.5). Epenesa had one sack and four quarterback hurries in Week 2. He led the Big Ten and ranked ninth in the country with 10.5 sacks in 2018.
• Running back Mekhi Sargent leads the team in carries (27) and rushing yards (150), and ranks second in receptions (6) and receiving yards (77). His 227 all-purpose yards leads the team.
• Saturday is the first of four trophy games on Iowa’s 2019 schedule. Iowa is 13-3 in its last 16 rivalry trophy games (Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin), with all three losses coming to Wisconsin.