Hawkeyes set to halt Cyclone winning-streak


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There were times in the past week when the Iowa football coaches cranked the speakers during practice. This is a common thing — it’s meant to try to replicate the opposition’s crowd noise.

But Jake Rudock remembers just how loud and hostile Jack Trice Stadium can be. He was there two years ago as a redshirt, when Iowa lost to the Cyclones, 44-41, in three overtimes.

Rudock will return there on Saturday, but this time as the Hawkeyes’ starting quarterback. It’ll be his first real taste of the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry.

“I remember coming out for pregame and the corners [of the stadium] not being full,” Rudock said. “Then I came out for the game, and the corners, the hills were completely full. I thought that was kind of neat.”

Rudock has been on Iowa’s campus long enough to know that the week of the Cy-Hawk football game is a big deal to the fans. He said on Tuesday that he doesn’t hear of the rivalry as much as he sees it, noting that “Beat State” T-shirts are a common sight.

Rudock has known about the Iowa-Iowa State atmosphere for a while. During the recruiting process, his official visit to Iowa City was the week of the Cy-Hawk game. He said the fans, on both sides, were crazy and passionate.

“Seeing it once already has definitely helped me learn what to expect,” he said.

Rudock said he had somewhat of an idea of the rivalry before he moved into Iowa City. The Weston, Fla., native grew up in the Miami-Florida-Florida State territory. He watched those three teams duke it out each season.

“They don’t like each other,” Rudock said and laughed. “They don’t like each other. But they’re always good games.

“I’d remember Miami having a down year, and then they’d play Florida State tough. And I think Florida State only won by a touchdown. Rivalries are that for a reason, and they’re always going to be a good game.”

If the past few games have been any indication, Rudock’s assumption should hold true. Iowa has won six of the last 10 meetings between the two teams — and that includes the two-consecutive losses that hang over the Hawkeyes.

Rudock, along with the rest of the team, said he prepared for the game as he would for any other. But that empty spot in Iowa’s trophy case has added a little bit of motivation throughout the week.
“They understand the importance of it,” offensive lineman Brandon Scherff said. “It’s a big game. Trophy games are especially big.”

The game is pivotal for both squads. A loss for either side would push that team’s record under .500. A victory for the Cyclones allows them to begin the season with a 1-1 record.

A win for the Hawkeyes would push their record above .500 for the first time since, get this, Oct. 27, 2012 — almost a calendar year of subpar football. Iowa entered that day 4-3, then went on to lose six straight to end the 2012 season.

“It will be a tough ball game, as always,” Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Anytime I think we get together, it’s usually a pretty good game. I expect them to be ready to go, and they’re an aggressive ball club.”

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