Ames, Ia. — No one has to remind Bret Meyer. He knows about The Streak.
He knows it’s going to end sometime. He’s hoping it’s Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Mike Humpal knows it as well — after a reporter brought him up to speed.
“That’s almost hard to believe,” he said.
They know The Streak from opposite perspectives: Meyer as the former Iowa State quarterback who scored the Cyclones’ last touchdown against Iowa, and Humpal as the former Hawkeye linebacker among those responsible for keeping it alive.
If Iowa State is to win Saturday’s annual showdown at 2:30 p.m., it would help to at least score a touchdown — the first from the Cyclones in the series since 2006.
That’s 14 quarters of futility, trying to penetrate a brick wall otherwise known as the goal line.
“You need to score touchdowns to beat Iowa,” Cyclone center Ben Lamaak said this week.
Take away Iowa State’s five-field goal, 15-13 victory against the Hawkeyes in 2007, and Lamaak’s logic holds up.
The Cyclones have been outscored 82-26 by Iowa since Meyer’s end-zone dash, the only Iowa State points coming on eight field goals and a safety.
“What that streak speaks to is good things about coach Parker and the rest of the defensive coaches at Iowa,” Humpal said of defensive coordinator Norm Parker.
“Fourteen quarters … really?”
The Last Touchdown
Iowa State ball at the Iowa 9-yard line … late in the second quarter of a 2006 game in Iowa City.
Quarterback draw by Meyer.
“It wasn’t a broken play,” Meyer said last week. “It’s what we called.
“It was blocked so well that I wasn’t even touched.”
Since then, Dan McCarney was removed as the coach, replacement Gene Chizik moved to Auburn, and now the streak-breaking falls on Paul Rhoads’ coaching watch.
“We’re excited to line up (against) a team some predict will contend for the national championship, and rightly so,” Rhoads said. “We don’t see any weak spots.”
Iowa State has run 21 plays in Iowa’s red zone — the name for the area within 20 yards of the end zone — since Meyer’s touchdown in the final season of McCarney’s coaching regime.
Those plays resulted in a total of 20 yards.
“That’s where Iowa really braces up,” Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud said this week. “There’s a reason they’re always among the nation’s best (defenses) in the red zone.”
There’s no defensive secret.
“What they do is they play their assignments,” said Cyclones tailback Alexander Robinson, who rushed for 100 yards in last season’s 35-3 loss. “That’s what makes them so special.”
“We broke down 396 snaps in five games,” Cyclone offensive coordinator Tom Herman said. “They blitzed just 26 times.
“They’re simple in what they do. Preparing for them is the part that’s challenging, because they’re really good at what they do.”
Iowa doesn’t need to blitz; the Hawkeyes’ front four is as good as any unit in the country.
Lamaak: “Maybe the best in the country.”
Samuel Epley, an Iowa State student and statistics major from Waverly, has crunched the numbers of the past four Cy-Hawk games. His data shows the streak ending on Saturday.
“Iowa State will score at least one passing touchdown, assuming the passing game is more on target than last season,” said Epley, referring to Arnaud’s four-interception game.
Arnaud’s average of 1.2 touchdown passes during the past 10 games overall shows Epley “the statistics are behind Arnaud.”
And, maybe, the statistics support Iowa State finally breaking The Streak.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football