By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Caleb Shudak’s father would probably never admit it, but his son’s decision to kick at Iowa may have been a difficult pill to swallow.
“It was probably tough for him initially,” Shudak said.
Shudak’s father, Jeff Shudak, was a kicker at Iowa State from 1987-90. Now, the younger Shudak will line up for the Hawkeyes in his second career start when the No. 10 Hawkeyes take on the No. 9 Cyclones in Ames on Saturday in the first meeting between Iowa and Iowa State as AP ranked opponents.
Unsurprisingly, Caleb Shudak grew up an Iowa State fan in Council Bluffs. He considered Iowa State coming out of high school, but after a visit to the University of Iowa College of Engineering, decided that Iowa City was the place for him.
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“That just felt more geared toward me and my learning style,” Caleb Shudak said. “Once I talked with the staff I realized they were going to make me a better person, not just a better athlete and that really struck home with me.”
Caleb Shudak, who joined the team as a walk-on in 2016, said his father has provided some advice for what will be a surreal experience in a hostile environment on Saturday.
Iowa State has not beaten Iowa since 2014 and the last time the two teams played it was a marathon that involved multiple rain and lightning delays and a dropped punt in the waning moments to give Iowa a victory.
“Obviously, times have changed,” Caleb Shudak said. “Crazier crowds, bigger stadiums, but he gave me a little advice on how he would handle it, what he would do before a game, how he would handle the atmosphere there. It’s an incredible atmosphere. They have incredibly loud and fun fans, so he’s given me a little bit of advice here and there.”
Caleb Shudak is already accomplished off the field having received his master’s degree in May, but he still has made just two field goals as a college kicker.
Both made field goals came last week – from 41 and 35 yards – though the Hawkeyes were already up big on Indiana and at home.
Caleb Shudak handled all kickoff duties for the Hawkeyes the last two seasons while sitting behind All-American Keith Duncan.
Now, it’s Shudak’s time, and he has a chance to make an impact on the field his father once did the same, just in a different uniform.
“It is cool to think about being on the same field and kicking on the same uprights as he did,” Caleb Shudak said. “I get a little emotional talking with him about it, it’s just so cool. He was my childhood hero. I was like ‘this guy is the best kicker in the world.’ He was amazing and being able to follow in his footsteps in a dream come true.”
Injury Report: Senior offensive lineman Kyler Schott will miss his second consecutive game due to a foot injury sustained on his family farm during fall practice. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday that senior receiver Charlie Jones was good to go for Saturday’s game after limping off the field during the fourth quarter of last week’s win over Indiana.
Series History: Saturday is the 68th meeting between Iowa and Iowa State. Iowa holds a 45-22 in the series that began in 1894. The Hawkeyes have won the last five games in the series and six of the last seven dating back to 2013. The two teams did not play last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first time two consecutive meetings in the series have been played in Ames.
Cy-Hawk Series: Saturday’s game is the second game in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series that pits the two schools in 12 different sports. The series awards two points (except football, which is worth three) to the winning school in each head-to-head matchup between the two schools. Iowa beat Iowa State 2-1 in soccer on Aug. 29. The two teams also will face off in volleyball on Saturday.