Hawkeye rivalry games 'ramp it up'

Iowa football players say games with trophies on the line always special

CHICAGO, Ill. - The Hawkeyes open up the football season on September 2 when they take on Wyoming.

But the Big Ten fun begins on September 23 when the Hawkeyes host Penn State at Kinnick Stadium.

The Hawkeyes and some of their biggest Big Ten adversaries talked about how they view the always-exciting trophy games at the annual media days in Chicago.

Rivalries and trophy games are synonymous with college football. Iowa plays in four of those games annually and three in the Big Ten. Receiver Matt VandeBerg says playing for some hardware is always special.

"Any trophy that you're about to bring into the building, I mean, that's a well-earned trophy," VandeBerg said. "When there's a trophy involved, that definitely raises the stakes. Like I said, there's a tangible thing for winning that game at that given time, so that definitely ramps it up."

Linebacker Josey Jewell says the Hawkeyes' preparation for the conference rivalry games also gets taken to another level.

"During that week you try to make it the most important game ever," Jewell said. "You try to make it the biggest rivalry, you try to, you know be the most focused you've ever been during a game week."

Opposing players from Wisconsin, Nebraska and Minnesota all said playing against the Hawkeyes' style of football presents a unique challenge.

"It's gritty football," Minnesota running back Rodney Smith said. "They're an old-school type of team, very physical...And I like playing against teams like that."

Nebraska defensive back Aaron Williams agreed.

"A hard-hitting, tough game, so that game right there will be fun, but it's also a very tough, tough game too," Williams said. "You gotta prepare yourself mentally and physically for that game."

Wisconsin's brand of football is the most similar to Iowa's. Badgers linebacker T.J. Edwards said the familarity increases the importance of executing at every position.

"It's just whether or not you can beat the guy across from you," Edwards said. "It's a great challenge everytime we play them, just knowing  you have to be physically and mentally better than that guy across from you."

Iowa's first Big Ten rivalry game will be October 28 against Minnesota. The Hawkeyes will play in the annual Cy-Hawk game against Iowa State in week 2.

For more Hawkeye football coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Hawkeye Headquarters on OurQuadCities.com all season.

 


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • If You Only Knew
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Holiday's For You Giveaway
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • QC Health Alert
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Consumer Connections
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Our QC Cares

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center