Iowa State coach Matt Campbell thinks his program is catching up to in-state rival Iowa, demonstrating major progress from when he first arrived in Ames.
Campbell told Cyclone Insider this week that the annual battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy could hardly be considered a rivalry game when he joined the program in 2016 because it wasn’t a competitive series. However, he thinks his program is moving in the right direction.
“It wasn’t much of a rivalry when we first got here because of how bad they beat us,” Campbell said. “I think a rivalry is one that’s competitive. Obviously, we’re getting our program to where they’re at. … I think we’re hopefully getting closer to where we want to be and at that point, making it a really competitive year-in and year-out game where you have a chance to win football games in the rivalry — that’s ultimately where we want to be.”
In 2016, the Hawkeyes handed the Cyclones a 42-3 loss. However, last year the Cyclones took the Hawkeyes to overtime before falling 44-41, and that was before Kyle Kempt took over as the starting quarterback. Between that game and Iowa State’s top-10 wins against Oklahoma and TCU, the Cyclones are definitely demonstrating progress under Campbell.
The question is whether Campbell and Iowa State can take the next step and start beating the Hawkeyes with some consistency. Iowa holds a 43-22 all-time edge in the series and has won seven of the last 10 matchups. They are the early favorites in this year’s matchup as well. If Campbell can start producing wins in that series, it will be massive for the program.