Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz weighs in on ESPN's College GameDay previewing Cy-Hawk game in Ames, during a press conference, Sept. 10, 2019. Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — As much that is established with Iowa's 2019 team, this unit hasn't had a road test yet. That will change Saturday in a raucous environment.
In all of Kirk Ferentz's years, thriving away from Kinnick Stadium has come down to a simple virtue:
"The ability to really focus in on what counts and ignore the rest of it," Ferentz said at Tuesday's press conference when asked what comes down to succeeding on the road. "There's going to be a lot of rest-of-it."
This year's Cy-Hawk matchup carries added elements than years prior. The annual Iowa-Iowa State showdown always garners in-state attention. But with one team ranked and the other just outside the poll — along with "College Gameday's" first-ever trip to Ames — there's a national feel to the 2019 edition.
"The game on the field is really important to everyone involved," Ferentz said. "... When we win, it's a really good thing. When we lose, it's awful."
Ferentz said he doesn't anticipate GameDay's presence to affect the outcome. ESPN's premier college football show last visited the state of Iowa in 2006, when the No. 13 Hawkeyes hosted top-ranked Ohio State. The buzz vanished quickly as the Buckeyes rolled, 38-17.
"They were here in (2006) and it didn't really impact the game," Ferentz said. "I don't think it's going to impact this one, either."
Ferentz lauded Iowa State's established pieces, many of whom Iowa faced last season, in the Hawkeyes' 13-3 Cy-Hawk win. But Iowa didn't see quarterback Brock Purdy. The Cyclones' heralded quarterback didn't take over until the season's fifth game, at Oklahoma State.
Iowa will see Purdy up-close Saturday.
"He's given them a great boost," Ferentz said.
On the injury front, free safety Kaevon Merriweather (sprained foot) is out as expected. Offensive lineman Cole Banwart, who dressed against Rutgers but didn't play, should be rotated in on Saturday.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.