Here's a look at who the Cyclones will face this season. Tyler Davis/The Register
Iowa State football coach Matt Campbell believes the Cy-Hawk rivalry is just that again — an actual rivalry.
After a brutal beating by the Hawkeyes in 2016 and a close call in 2017, Campbell believes his Cyclones are restoring the annual in-state rivalry against the Hawkeyes.
“It wasn’t much of a rivalry when we first got here because of how bad they beat us,” Campbell said during his interview on the Register’s Cyclone Insider radio show on KXnO. “I think a rivalry is one that’s competitive. Obviously, we’re getting our program to where they’re at.”
Iowa State has already come a long way in Campbell’s two seasons at Iowa State. In just his second season with the Cyclones, Iowa State knocked off three ranked opponents, earned its first trip to a bowl game since 2012 and won its first bowl game since 2009.
But one other thing continues to elude Campbell as he gets ready for his third season in Ames: a victory over Iowa. But Iowa State has come a long way in that department, as well.
The Hawkeyes throttled Iowa State in Campbell’s first season, handing the Cyclones a 42-3 loss in Iowa City. Just a season later, the two teams battled to a 44-41 back-and-forth overtime win by the Hawkeyes.
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Those two games are enough evidence for Campbell to show just how far his team has come.
“Early on, with where we were as a program and where they are/was as a program, I think (are) two different places,” Campbell said. “I think we’re hopefully getting closer to where we want to be and at that point, making it a really competitive year-in and year-out game where you have a chance to win football games in the rivalry — that’s ultimately where we want to be.”
The next showdown between the two teams comes on Sept. 8 at Kinnick Stadium at 4 p.m. It’s the second game of the season for the Cyclones, and Campbell understands just how important it will be.
“I think that’s, for us, where we want to get our football program to — and that’s why you love playing that game every year — because I think it’s a great measuring stick to where you are in your program,” Campbell said.