For the first sic years of his tenure in Ames, head coach Matt Campbell achieved national acclaim. The Cyclones knocked off numerous top-5 teams. They won home games and away games. But the one thing that escaped Campbell was a win over the Iowa Hawkeyes. That changed last year when Iowa State defeated Iowa 7-3 in Iowa City.
Now the Hawkeyes look to avenge that loss. But there are new names and faces in both Iowa City and in Ames. So it’s time to familiarize ourselves with the Iowa State Cyclones in advance of Saturday’s Cy-Hawk showdown.
In the words of the wise and sage-like Big Tom Callahan, you can get a good look at a t-bone by sticking your head up a bull’s rear end, but wouldn’t you rather take the butcher’s word for it?
So rather than sticking our head up anyone’s rear end, we’re asking our, uh, friends (?) over at Wide Right Natty Lite for their words on the Iowa State Cyclones. We were joined by Matthias Schwartzkopf over at WRNL to talk all things Cy-Hawk this week. Here’s a look at our conversation.
BHGP: Like Iowa, the Cyclones have had some personnel turnover since last year. Let’s start on the offensive side of the ball - who are the new names to know for Iowa State that Hawkeye fans should know ahead of Saturday’s matchup?
WRNL: Obviously we all know the Hunter Dekkers story and the dummy mistake he made gambling so that led to a new quarterback in Rocco Becht the redshirt freshman out of Florida. He saw a few snaps in 2022 but nothing to the level he will face on Saturday. All eyes will be on him and how he takes the next step in his progression.
I want to add in Abu Sama the freshman running back from Southeast Polk. At least some instate school was able to land a SEP poll kid, am I right? Sorry, too soon. Thanks Nick Saban. This kid may be the starting running back for Iowa State by year end. He’s fast and and can make people miss and he needs more touches this week. Will be really fun to see him grow.
BHGP: Looking at ISU’s week one win over Northern Iowa, the scoreboard obviously looks great, but the Cyclones totaled just 250 total yards of offense and essentially two long scoring drives on the day. Should Hawkeye fans expect this weekend’s matchup to be a defensive struggle a la a season ago or should the 77% completion percentage for Rocco Becht and 5 ypc average for the Cyclones on the ground tell us Iowa State is ready to show more in week two?
WRNL: I think the defenses will rule the day for both sides. Unfortunately when you get two interceptions that lead to a pick six and then a long field goal to end the half it eliminates two offensive drives for Iowa State. Then you add the new running clock and it just didn’t give us enough answers on this Iowa State offense and what they will be and obviously going against Phil Parker this week I still don’t think we will know come Saturday night. They certainly are going to have to find a way to make plays but it’s going to be tough.
BHGP: Speaking of defensive struggles, the Cyclones held UNI to just 9 points and 279 total yards in week one. This after loving some key contributors from a season ago. Who is gone from that 2022 group and who are the new names on defense Hawkeye fans should familiarize themselves with?
WRNL: Dominique Orange and Tyler Onyedim upfront on the defensive line are two studs. Orange was being recruited by some SEC schools and ultimately ended up in Ames. Played a bit a year ago and has transformed his body a bit and just has become a freak, Tyler Onyedim is going to be the leader on the defensive line. Was on a mission against UNI and ultimately had some cramping issues towards the end but he certainly pops on film: Then you have the secondary which may just be the best in the Big 12 and certainly a top squad in the NCAA. Myles Purchase, Tj Tampa, Beau Freyler and Jeremiah Cooper are all great players.
BHGP: Iowa State picked off two UNI passes, including a pick-six on the opening drive of the game. The Cyclones also tallied 5 sacks in the opener. Is there anything ISU showed new or different defensively in week one and how were they able to generate pressure against the Panthers?
WRNL: I think Jon Heacock was simply just tired of UNIs shit from years past and put the hammer on them early. He basically used a later in the season type game plan against UNI. We were seeing tons of stunts up front. Corner blitzes. Multiple LB blitzes. He was going for the jugular early. In terms of new? I don’t think so and certainly nothing Iowa hasn’t seen already.
BHGP: Alright, prediction time. The folks over at DraftKings Sportsbook have this one at Iowa -4 with an over/under at... 36.5 total points. Obviously, if you are a student athlete at Iowa or Iowa State, please don’t answer this, but which side of those numbers are you taking and how do you see this one playing out?
The under feels like a trap. I think the defenses will own this game but there may be a touch more scoring than last year that takes them just over that 36.5. So I may toss a little on the over.
I think it really comes down to how healthy is McNamara? Iowa State has the horses defensively to make him miserable if he is truly not 100%. Will be watching him early on.
Matt Campbell finally got the monkey off his back last season and now he basically has an entirely new squad with 0 expectations and I think they’ll play like that. I don’t feel great about it but like you said in my questions for our site, I’m a homer and can’t pick against the clones.
Iowa state 21
So there you have it - we’re all homers.
Big thanks to Matthias over at Wide Right Natty Lite for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to take a stroll over to WRNL before Saturday to get a look at the rest of their Cy-Hawk content. That will include a Q&A from the Iowa side of things as the week progresses.