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Free Pick: Iowa at Iowa State 9/11/21

Free Pick: Iowa at Iowa State 9/11/21

College Gameday is coming to Ames for this marquee matchup between two teams who hate each other. Both teams are ranked and this game is of great importance to them down the road. The Hawkeyes are coming off an impressive 34-6 thrashing of highly-regarded (not the Dudes), Indiana while Iowa State struggled (don’t they always) with FCS rival Northern Iowa before winning 16-10. This is always an entertaining game even when neither team is ranked. With so much on the line, this one has the makings of a classic.

Scouting Iowa: The Hawkeyes are easy to scout. They look the same every year in their Pittsburgh Steelers look-alike jerseys. They always have a quarterback who is able to make a play or two when they need it and this year the nod goes to Spencer Petras. He is coming off an unimpressive game, stats-wise, but had zero turnovers and that is what Iowa strives for. They feature a strong running game behind a fundamentally sound offensive line and the leader of this bunch is center, Tyler Linderbaum. Running back, Tyler Goodson is a typical Iowa back; strong, physical, and dependable, He is coming off a game where he rushed for 99 yards on 19 carries. There is some concern at the wide receiver position as the Hawkeyes are looking for replacements for two guys that they lost a year ago. But, there are no worries with tight end Sam Laporta, who caught 5 balls for 83 yards.

Defensively, Iowa is always good and their defense will keep them in games unless they get outathleted. They look like clones from the year before and just plug guys in. Linebackers, Seth Benson and Jack Campbell combined for 16 tackles against Indiana and they held the Hoosiers to 233 total yards and only 11 first downs. They are sound at all positions and they will “show up” on Saturday in Ames.

Coach Kirk Ferentz is in his 23rd year as the head guy in Iowa City and he is one of the best in the business. He suffered losing seasons in his first seasons and only two more since. His consistency at a school with a very small recruiting base for elite athletes is remarkable.

Scouting Iowa State: When studying the Cyclones they resemble Iowa in so many ways starting with the quarterback, Brock Purdy. He is another guy who manages the game and has the ability to make some really good plays with the impressive weapons he has in his arsenal. He is piloting Iowa State for the 4th year and his experience is valuable. He has a good-enough arm and many teams would be happy to have him. At running back,nthe Cyclones have, Breece Hall, who led the nation in rushing with 1572 yards. He has the ability to break long gainers or get the tough yards. They have two receivers in wideout, Xavier Hutchinson, who can stretch the field, and tight end, Charlie Kolar, who had zero catches last Saturday and the tight ends only had 1 catch between them which is a mystery. All five starters return from a year ago on the offensive line and they will have to play better this week.

As good as the offense has a chance to be, the Cyclone defense might be better. Their linebacking unit is special and are led by Mike Rose and Jake Hummel. Those two combined for 22 tackles in the season opener. Will McDonald is a force at defensive end and Enyi Uwarzurika holds down the middle. And on the back end, their secondary has playmakers in Anthony Johnson and Isheem Young. This crew is potentially the best in the Big 12.

Coach Matt Campbell has solidified his status with what he has done in Ames. He has built the Cyclones into a consistent winner combining good, hard-nosed players with some elite talent around them. This team is fundamentally sound and confident.

Summary: This is easily the best game of the day. There isn’t much to pick from among the two. Iowa was easily the most impressive of the two teams last Saturday but Iowa State always struggles in their first game against inferior opponents. On paper and in a uniform, the Cyclones have an edge in the quality of athletes that they will bring to the table. But, the line has Iowa State as a 4.5 point favorite and can they win by that much?

DUDES WHO BET SPORTS PICK: IOWA + 4.5 The Dudes think Iowa State will win this one but fail to cover.

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