IOWA CITY, Iowa — Coming from New Jersey, Akrum Wadley didn’t know anything about the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry.
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens quickly taught him about the importance of the game during his redshirt season in 2013. He didn’t do it with a conversation. He used his shoulder pads.
“I was able to watch guys like [Anthony] Hitchens and see the amount of impact he brought,” Wadley said. “I was on scout team and the hits he was giving me this week … You never forget those things.”
The Cy-Hawk game takes over the state of Iowa for one week each season. It’s the closest thing to the Super Bowl the state experiences.
This is the 40th anniversary of the Hawkeyes and Cyclones renewing the rivalry. Here are a look at the five biggest Iowa wins during that time, Hitchens over Wadley in Cy-Hawk practice excluded.
1977 — Iowa 12, No. 19 Iowa State 10
The first game in 43 years between the programs was one of the biggest for the Hawkeyes.
It was an inverse of so many future games. The Cyclones were ranked. The Hawkeyes weren’t. The underdog role fit Iowa well.
On the road, Iowa State jumped out to a 7-0 lead as Tom Buck returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown.
All of the scoring occurred in a 7-minute, 19-second span. Iowa tailback Dennis Mosley scored on a 77-yard touchdown 38 seconds after the Cyclones took the lead. The Hawkeyes missed the extra point.
An Iowa State turnover led to Jon Lazar scoring on 10-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Iowa added a 42-yard field goal to push its point total to 12.
It was all the Hawkeyes needed. The defense, led by linebackers Tom Rusk, Dean Moore and Mike Jackson, allowed only 96 total yards in front of 59,725 fans.
“I’m glad the darn thing’s over with,” Iowa coach Bob Cummings told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “It was an exhausting experience. We knew our defense could win it. We’ve established that we’re an outstanding defensive team.”
1985 — No. 3 Iowa 57, Iowa State 3
The Hawkeyes dominated the Cy-Hawk rivalry in the 1980s and 1990s. This was the third of 15 straight Iowa wins. Most contest weren’t close. The average margin of victory was 25.6 points.
No game sums up the Hawkeyes’ dominance during that period than the 1985 contest. Fifty-four points is the largest margin of victory in the series, and Iowa vaulted to No. 1 in the Associated Press poll after thrashing Iowa State.
Everything worked for the Hawkeyes on the road in 1985. Quarterback Chuck Long threw for 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Ronnie Harmon rushed for 103 yards for 2 scores. The defense allowed only 230 total yards.
A 34-point second quarter ensured that the starters were resting during the final stanza.
“Hey, I hope I never see the fourth quarter the whole year,” Long told the Iowa City-Press Citizen.
2003 — Iowa 41, Iowa State 21
The rivalry flipped at the turn of the century. The Cyclones won five straight entering the game in 2003. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was still looking for his first win in the series.
This game at Jack Trice Stadium served as a blueprint for how the Hawkeyes would top the Cyclones in future Ferentz victories. It was a combination of key defensive stops, a strong rushing attack, with a few big special-teams plays mixed in.
The Iowa defense produced four consecutive stops in the third quarter as a 20-7 contest became a 33-7 Hawkeyes lead. Iowa rushed for 171 yards with Fred Russell gaining 75 yards and a touchdown. Defensive back Sean Considine blocked 2 punts, and defensive back Chris Smith returned one of them for a third-quarter touchdown.
“We shut ’em down and broke their spirit,” linebacker Abdul Hodge told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “After we blocked that [second punt] I think they started giving up.”
2006 — No. 16 Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
Cy-Hawk history isn’t full of many gripping come-from-behind Iowa victories. The Cyclones jumped out to an 11-point lead in 2006 and seemed on the verge of picking up their seventh win over their in-state rival in nine contests.
Then quarterback Drew Tate engineered a comeback in Kinnick Stadium.
Tate, who didn’t play the prior week because of an abdominal strain, threw for 93 yards on consecutive second-half scoring drives, throwing touchdowns to Tom Busch and Tony Moeaki to put the Hawkeyes up 24-17. Tate finished with 274 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.
Iowa played the game for linebacker Mike Klinkenborg and his family. Klinkenborg lost his father to a heart attack six days before the game.
“He’s a lot stronger than I am,” cornerback Adam Shada told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. “We were all with him. Our hearts were with him. Whether he played or not. I take my hat off to the guy to even be able to play. I know his father was out there with him.”
2015 — Iowa 31, Iowa State 17
News broke Cy-Hawk week that former NFL and Iowa safety Tyler Sash, 27, died from an accidental overdose of painkillers in his Oskaloosa, Iowa, home on Sept. 8.
An emotional Iowa football team headed to Iowa State four days later. The Hawkeyes outscored the Cyclones 21-0 as the defense allowed only 66 yards in the second half. Quarterback C.J. Beathard threw for 215 yards and rushed for 111 while throwing 3 touchdown passes.
After the victory, the Hawkeyes, who lost all four trophy games in 2014, walked arm in arm in the team’s traditional “swarm” to grab the rivalry trophy from the Iowa State sideline.
“After [running back Jordan] Canzeri’s [fourth-quarter] touchdown, some of the seniors on the sideline said we were going to swarm to the trophy,” Beathard told the Cedar Rapids Gazette. “We’re a team. We’re all close, we’re a close-knit group, closest it’s ever been since I’ve been here and that’s four years now.”
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