AMES, Iowa (AP) — The annual matchup between the Cyclones and Hawkeyes is viewed as perhaps the biggest sporting event of the year in Iowa.
The game might not feel quite so big this year, with Iowa and Iowa State off to unimpressive starts, though the Cyclones insist Saturday's matchup will be as intense as ever.
Iowa State has only played once, losing to FCS school Northern Iowa at home on Aug. 31. The only win for the Hawkeyes (1-1) came last weekend against lowly FCS opponent Missouri State.
Those early stumbles have threatened to take some of the buzz out of the 61st meeting between the state's largest schools. But for Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads, early losses won't dull the drama that always precedes their matchup with the Hawkeyes.
"The week is electric," Rhoads said. "There's great energy and emotion surrounding this football game, but absolutely no difference going into the game based on records of our first game or theirs, I'm sure."
What has changed for Iowa State is their depth chart. After slipping up in a 28-20 loss to the Panthers, the Cyclones have shifted things around on defense.
Freshman linebacker Luke Knott, whose brother Jake ranked among the best to ever play at Iowa State, has been named a starter ahead of junior Jevohn Miller. Sam E. Richardson, a sophomore with the same name as Iowa State's starting quarterback, has moved ahead of freshman Charlie Rogers as the left cornerback.
Knott came on in relief of Miller after Iowa State was gashed on three long drives that ended in touchdowns for the Panthers. Knott's presence helped steady the defense, much like his brother did as an All-Big 12 performer in 2012.
"He's fast. He fills the gaps correctly, and that's big for us right now," safety Deon Broomfield said of Knott. "I'm excited for him. He'll be good for us."