College Football Preview: The 2015 Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State Cyclones Preview
2014 Record: 2-10 (118th of 128)
Odds to Win National Championship: +120000 See the Latest Odds
Overview: The Iowa State Cyclones have won a combined five games the last two years and pressure is starting to build for head coach Paul Rhoads. Iowa State didn’t win a single Big 12 game last year and has now lost double-digit games three times since 2003. This could be a do-or-die season for the Cyclones and their current coaching staff.
Offense: One way to improve an offense that ranked eighth in the Big 12 is to return a playmaking quarterback. Sam Richardson showed promise last season after throwing for 18 touchdowns and rushing for 421 yards. Richardson also has hit top-two receivers returning in D'Vario Montgomery and Allen Lazard, a duo that topped 1,100 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Also, Quenton Bundrage, who was Iowa State’s top receiver in 2013, is expected to return from a torn ACL and provide an impact on the outside. Tyler Brown will have to grow up quickly as running back after getting just 24 carries as a freshman. Also, the Cyclones return just three starters from an OL that allowed 30 sacks. Still, overall, Iowa State should be a lot better offensively.
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Defense: Iowa State’s defense ranked dead last in the country last season after allowing 528.9 yards per game. Teams such as New Mexico, Western Kentucky and any other lousy defensive team you can think of finished ahead of the Cyclones. Now, the good news is that Nigel Tribune and Sam Richardson form an underrated cornerback tandem that produced 19 pass deflections and seven interceptions. Iowa State also has one of the top Big 12 secondary players in Kamari Cotton-Moya, who had 77 tackles and eight pass deflections as a freshman. A potential return of Luke Knott would certainly help a young linebacking group but nothing is certain right now. Dale Pierson provides a boost along the defensive line and JUCO transfer Demond Tucker could turn some heads. Also, this ISU defense has nowhere to go but up, so, there’s that..
Special Teams: Cole Netten returns at kicker after making 78.6 percent of 14 field goal attempts. Colin Downing returns at punter after averaging 39.4 yards on 69 attempts.
Overall: I expect Iowa State to be a lot better on the offensive side of the ball. However, when you’re talking about the worst defense in all of college football, you start to question if it will even matter. The Cyclones success will all come down to just how much ISU has improved defensively. Still, making a bowl game would be considered a stretch.