WARNING, the scoreboard does not tell the story. The efficient Iowa State Cyclone offense that fans saw in week one was nowhere to be found against the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, losing 20-13. This marked the sixth straight Iowa victory in Ames. Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz notched another milestone becoming the 24th Division I head coach to reach win number 200. A late 16-yard Jayden Higgins touchdown reception cut the Hawks lead to seven, but it would be too little too late.
“It’s great to see us in a critical moment make the play that put ourselves in a situation to win the game,” Campbell said. “We just fell a little bit short on time, but proud of the kids.”
After a strong start to the first quarter driving 57-yards deep into Iowa territory in 15 plays, the Hawkeye special team’s unit blocked Chase Contreraz’s 36-yard field goal attempt, sucking the energy out of Iowa State’s offense. The Cyclone crowd would have the air knocked out of them as freshman running back, Jaziun Patterson broke out a 59-yard run on third and short to set up the game’s first points of the day with a Hawks field goal. After Iowa’s defensive line stuffed Iowa State running back, Catevious Norton on third and short, Iowa got the ball back before the end of the first quarter. Cade McNamara showed off that arm strength many Hawk fans were so eager to see, finding Luke Lachey 36-yards down the field to the Iowa State 17-yard line heading into the second quarter.
It would take a total of 4:40 for the Hawks to convert on the drive as Jaziun Patterson punched in the first touchdown of the day on a four-yard run. Both teams would trade punts, but the major concern came from the Cyclone offense as they found themselves faced with third and long constantly. Needing some sort of momentum shift, McNamara made his only mistake of the day throwing an interception that was hauled in by the Big 12 Player of the Week, Jeremiah Cooper. With the ball at Iowa State’s own 29, senior defensive back Sebastian Castro returned the favor picking off Rocco Becht and returning it 30-yards to the house to put the Hawkeyes up 17 with four minutes left. The pick-six marked the 16th straight season the Iowa defense has recorded an interception for a touchdown. Iowa State gained some motivation by knocking in a field goal cutting the lead back down to a two-possession game right before halftime.
Starting the third quarter much like the first half, McNamara and the Iowa offense carved into the Cyclone defense for an 11-play, 69-yard drive that ended in a 43-yard field goal. Iowa State would attempt to do what so many teams have failed at in trying to come back against a Phil Parker-led defense. Iowa is 65-2 when leading by eight points at any point in a game.
“We’d love to [get off to a great start], but it’s not always going to happen, and I was almost waiting for it,” Campbell said. “So, how are you going to respond when you don’t? At least I thought we passed a huge test there today.”
Early in the final quarter, the Cyclones managed to go up field for the first time since the end of the half and knock in a 46-yard field goal. Now, with a motivated defense and the Jack Trice faithful growing louder, Iowa State stared at a seven-point deficit with 70-yards to go and only 1:48 left in the game. On fourth and one, Campbell elected to give the ball to Norton, who was taken down two yards behind the line of scrimmage, ultimately ending the game.
Despite the loss, Campbell expressed where he sees this team growing from week one to now.
“The biggest maturity that I saw was us continuing to handle what college football brings you,” Campbell said. “We put ourselves behind the eight ball early in the football game, not where you want to play from, but can you play back and give yourself a chance to win? And I thought that was huge.”
Iowa State will head to Ohio next weekend for their first away game of the season against the Ohio Bobcats. Last year, the Cyclones went 1-4 on the road with the lone victory being against the Hawkeyes.