Iowa State was actually awesome for parts of last season, flirting with top-15 status during a five-game winning streak in the middle of the year. They finished 8-5 and 30th, and are projected to be right around there again this year thanks to the return of star head coach Matt Campbell and most of the rest of the team.
There was a turning point when Iowa State handed the reigns to freshman QB Brock Purdy. After a 1-3 start where the Cyclones averaged just 17 points, they averaged over 30 after the switch thanks to Purdy’s incredible year, where he completed 66.4% of his passes for an average of over ten yards per attempt (an absurd average).
Senior RB David Montgomery is gone, but Iowa State shifted to a more pass-heavy focus late last year anyways. Slot receivers Rarique Martin and Deshaunte Jones are back and they add Arkansas transfer La’Michael Pettway.
Five guys with starting experience return on the line, but the ‘Clones will have to go with one of two true freshmen at the half back spot, either Jirehi Brock or Breece Hall. If either of those guys shows promise, this could be a really fun offense again.
On defense, pretty much everyone is back in the front six. The secondary does lose Brian Peavy and D’Andre Payne, but both safeties return along with their all-conference nickel Greg Eisworth. Up front, the name to watch is nose tackle Ray Lima, who was terrific in run defense. In the pass rush, its JaQuan Bailey, who was an all-around beast with eight sacks, 6.5 TFL, and five PBUs. As long as this team can find a couple of servicable corners, the defense should be great.
RB and CB are two holes, but I really like Iowa State this year, probably more than the model does. Another 7-5 regular season would be in line with what they’ve done the past couple years, but if Purdy can improve even further a breakout year is possible.
|Date||Opponent||OPp. rank||Proj. Margin|
|12-Oct||at west virginia||42||-1.4|
|19-Oct||at texas tech||60||0.8|
|30-Nov||at kansas state||54||0.2|
Average Projected Record: 6.8 wins, 5.2 losses (4.4 wins, 4.6 losses)