Last Saturday, a tweet was sent from the Iowa Hawkeyes Twitter account (@Hawkeyes) indicating they would honor their fallen brother, Tyler Sash, by replacing one “Tigerhawk” on their helmets with No. 9.
While players, coaches and fans continued to mourn Tyler’s passing, there was still uncertainty as to what caused his death at such a young age. Tyler was only 27 when he died suddenly last Tuesday.
As game time approached memories of Sash’s three interceptions in a former Iowa-ISU matchup were on the minds of many. So, too, were his family and friends as several took to Twitter to share their recollections about how Tyler was “always there for the kids” and recalled how he had recently participated in a football camp in Iowa this summer.
Although Iowa was favored to win by 4, they failed to score on a fake field goal attempt and were down 17-10 at the half. This annual rivalry game is big for both teams with the winner being awarded the Cy-Hawk trophy, as well as earning bragging rights in the state. Both teams had won their season openers this year and were pumped up for this game.
Starting the third quarter, it did appear that momentum was on the side of ISU, and an upset could be on the horizon.
According to Ryan Wendt, KWBG sports director/morning show host and a very passionate Hawkeyes fan, “fans argue constantly” about things like “who has the best tailgating scene to which team has the tougher schedule.”
Ryan has attended tailgate parties in the big lots at Iowa State, which has mostly grass areas, as well as Iowa City where Kinnick Stadium is centered. According to Ryan, “there are lots open to tailgate in but if for the most part you know of somebody with a house, you are set?”
As for Iowa’s season schedule, Wendt thinks it’s pretty weak. “Outside of visits to Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Minnesota coming to Kinnick, there is no Ohio State, Michigan State, and no matchup against Michigan.”
According to Wendt, “Some fans with black and gold glasses on will tell you this season will be nine wins. A new QB, unproven OL, improving linebackers and an average special teams game has me still thinking this team wins 6 or 7. Kirk (head coach Ferentz) has to find a way to be a little more aggressive with the play calling and the defense has to have some big stops.”
If Wendt were a betting man, which side would he be on? “I would NEVER bet this game.”
Those caps came across loud and clear in that email Ryan shared with me prior to the game. “I believe Iowa has been favored for the past 15 years and has only won the game 7 times (no clue on how many covers in that time).”
Of course, if you want to know how many covers in that time, all you need to do is ask professional handicapper Marc Lawrence. Not sure if Marc owns any black and gold sunglasses, but I do know he cautions against discounting the Hawk’s chances.
You’ll find his summation over at www.playbook.com or on p. 146 of the print edition of Playbook, wherein he refers to Ferentz as the “dean of Big Ten coaches” and concurs that the Hawkeyes “face the softest schedule of all Big Ten teams in 2015.” He also reminds us “four of their six losses last year were by a touchdown or less.”
Someone who was high on this game was Yahoo! Sports radio host Joe Lisi aka @Goforthe2 on Twitter. Prior to the game, Joe chose this matchup as his best bet, and took Iowa for the win and the cover.
Ken Thomson, host of Yahoo! Sports radio (@SportSXRadio) also said prior to the game, “If I were going to pick it, I’d pick Iowa but weird stuff happens in that series.”
Thomson understood why Ryan might want to stay away. As for those tough games ahead, Lisi thinks Iowa will beat Wisconsin because of the way the defense is playing against the run and how DT Drew Ott is leading that defense.
“If they can make Wisky one dimensional and force Joel Stave to beat them with his arm. I like C.J. Beathard over Stave in that matchup.” The Hawkeyes play Wisconsin on Oct. 3 at Wisconsin. It remains to be seen whether #OnWisconsin will be trending in Vegas!
Note: The visiting Hawkeyes rallied to defeat the Cyclones 31-17 and come up with the cover.
Michelle has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Boston University (2009) and was working toward a PhD in Public Policy Administration/Law when she took a detour via Vegas. She is now a freelance writer and has her own business, specializing in sports social media. Check out her blog at www.MondayMorningMichelle.com Email: [email protected].