A crisp performance may be the biggest key to winning Saturday’s Iowa-Iowa State football game.
That’s the early take from Fox Sports 1 analyst James Bates, who will provide commentary for the 5 p.m. broadcast, live from Jack Trice Stadium.
“When you’ve got so much on the line and when you’ve got teams in such a big rivalry, you’ve got to execute,” said Bates, a former Florida linebacker. “You can’t help the other team out.”
The Cyclones (0-1) and Hawkeyes (1-1) are limping into their annual showdown, both in need of a victory.
They also share a relative lack of experience at the quarterback position.
“It’s tough not to let that excitement and emotion affect you on game day, early on,” said Bates, who helped the Gators win a national championship in 1996. “For all players, but obviously it stands out a little bit more with the quarterback position, it’s a little bit different.
“You run into the stadium, and it really feels like the whole world watching you.”
Sam Richardson emerged as Iowa State’s primary quarterback in the last three games of 2012. Jake Rudock made his Iowa debut two weeks ago.
Both were on the sidelines last year, when the Cyclones won 9-6.
“I think it’s even more important in this game for a young quarterback to have a little bit of success early,” Bates said. “Not so much drive them right down and score a touchdown, but get a couple first downs, get a little tempo going.”
Iowa State lost its opener to Northern Iowa, giving up 228 rushing yards. Saturday, the Cyclones will have to bring down power-back Mark Weisman, who has 280 yards in two games, averaging 5.6 per carry.
“It really may be just what you need for a team that’s struggled early on tackling, to have a guy who is a little less shifty, even if he is a bruiser,” Bates said. “What you’re going to find out now, though, is how much your defensive guys like football. And how much they want to go up there and put their nose in it.
“You’ve got to run through these tackles, or it’ll look every bit as ugly as it did in the open field. It’s not just about being an athlete this week. Now, it’s about toughness, as well.”
For the Hawkeyes, success could hinge on cutting down penalties.
Iowa has been flagged 17 times in its first two games, for 135 yards.
“You’ve got to go out and play some crisp football,” Bates said. “You’ve got to be disciplined, and it’s got to mean something to you.
“This is a chance for both these teams to really wash away that bad taste, and look ahead.”
Bates will call the game alongside play-by-play announcer Justin Kutcher and sideline reporter Brady Poppinga.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football