IOWA CITY, Iowa - Thanks to Iowa’s four-game winning streak against Iowa State, no current Iowa player knows how it feels to lose to the Cyclones.
And, obviously, no player for Iowa State knows how it feels to beat Iowa.
That’ll probably have no impact on Saturday’s annual showdown in Ames, or maybe it will because athletes and coaches often talk about the importance of having mental toughness and how it impacts what happens on the field.
A victory on Saturday would be Iowa's longest winning streak in the series since the Hawkeyes won 15 in a row from 1983 to 1997 under former head coach hayden Fry.
It’ll take some mental toughness for the Iowa players to handle the hostile environment that is waiting for them on Saturday in Ames, and some of the players talked about that challenge while meeting with the media on Tuesday.
The Iowa players have reason to be confident, with Iowa having defeated Miami of Ohio and Rutgers by scores of 38-14 and 30-0, respectively, in the first two games, and with Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley preparing to make his 29th career start, and his third start against Iowa State.
Stanley won his first game on the road at Iowa State in 2017, throwing five touchdown passes, including the game winner to Ihmir Smith-Marsette in overtime, during a 44-41 instant classic.
So Stanley shouldn’t be fazed by the environment in Ames on Saturday, and he addressed that on Tuesday.
The Iowa-Iowa State game is treated every year like the first moon landing by local media, but this year’s game even has some national appeal with Iowa ranked, with Iowa State almost ranked, and with ESPN GameDay coming to Ames on Saturday.
But how big of a deal is the so-called big game to the Iowa players, especially those from in state?
It doesn’t have any impact on the Big Ten race, but it does impact local recruiting and determines state bragging rights.
Select members of the Iowa team addressed that topic and many others while meeting with the media on Tuesday.
There was no trash talking because Iowa doesn’t operate that way under Kirk Ferentz, at least not since Fred Barr played linebacker for Iowa during the early years under Ferentz.
Barr was quoted as saying that he hated Iowa State, but his inflammatory remark has been the exception more than the rule.
Here are multiple videos of Iowa players from Tuesday’s press conference: