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“They’re known for Iowa’s family atmosphere, and it has been everything I’ve heard about,” Iowa safety Tyler Sash said. “The players can get used to being with the same coaches, and future recruits know that the coaches are going to be here.”

Ferentz and Rhoads do have one thing in common: a desire to keep the rivalry intact despite potential scheduling changes caused by realignments of both the Big Ten and Big 12.

Both realize how important the Iowa-Iowa State game is to their fans. The seven wins the Cyclones have picked up in the last 12 meetings has also done wonders for a program that once lost 15 straight to Iowa.

Rhoads tried to downplay the importance of the rivalry this week, insinuating that Saturday will be just another game. That seems a stretch for a coach who looked as though he might head-butt linebacker Jake Knott last week after Knott had a big interception.

“The game’s got to be played that way. It’s got to be played with raw emotion and enthusiasm,” Rhoads said.