College Football Preview: The 2014 Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State Cyclones 0-0
2014 College Football Preview
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Overview: The Iowa State Cyclones experienced their worst season ever under head coach Paul Rhoads, which included a 3-9 record and no bowl game for the first time in three years. The Cyclones lost nine of their first 10 games and had a defense that allowed an average of 36 points per contest. Needless to say, it wasn’t an enjoyable season for Iowa State fans. With recent success and usually being considered a giant killer, Iowa State fans do expect more from its football team. This team has to get back on track this season for sure.
Offense: Iowa State’s offense ranked 91st in the country in points scored but those numbers should change with 10 starters returning. Leading rusher Aaron Wimberly is one of those 10 players, and he should experience a heavier workload after averaging a solid four yards per carry. Wide receiver Quenton Bundrage has the potential to be an all-conference player if he can build on last season’s success where he averaged more than 14 yards per reception. The Cyclones should also benefit from transfer wide receiver D’Vario Montgomery, who may have the best skill set of any offensive player on this team. The only main concern for Iowa State’s offense is its quarterbacks, as Grant Rohach and Sam Richardson were turnover machines last season and were not very accurate. Those guys have to improve if this offense is going to do anything.
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Defense: Iowa State only returns five starters from a brutal defense, which may make things worse this time. Entering his senior season, linebacker Jared Brackens will now be the leader of this unit with so much talent and experience gone in the wind. Cory Morrissey will lead a young group of defensive linemen and will have to take his production to the next level after 6.5 tackles for loss last season. The Cyclones also have a promising player in linebacker Luke Knott and a quality defensive back in Nigel Tribune. While they’re still young and are sure to make mistakes, they can make plays and help keep this shaky defense afloat. Overall, you can’t expect much from this defense after what we saw last season and the talent that left. But it should be better than last season, even if it is by the slimmest of margins.
Special Teams: Cole Netten returns at kicker after making 13 of 18 field goal attempts last season. Freshman Colin Downing will have the tall task of replacing punter Kirby Van Der Kamp, who started the last four seasons at the position.
Outlook: Iowa State has some nice pieces on the offensive side of the ball, and they’ll have to play extremely well if the win column is going to improve. I just don’t have much confidence in the Cyclones to get many stops defensively. There are going to be a lot of shootouts this season with Iowa State, which is always a dangerous way to play the game of football. If anything, it’s going to be a season that keeps you on the edge of your seat as the Cyclones will either just clinch a bowl game or fall just short.