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Iowa State

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Iowa State finished with only three wins in Matt Campbell’s first season, but fans knew this was a rebuilding process from the start. And in all, it wasn’t a terrible year with the Cyclones staying competitive with the best teams in the conference and even throwing down a 56-point win on Texas Tech. In the second year of Campbell, one or two more wins is expected, but a bowl still seems like a long shot.

Jacob Park (12 TDs, 5 INTs) will have quarterback all to himself and the result of that is still to be determined. He split with Joel Lanning last season, but Lanning has since moved to linebacker. Park has all his top targets back with Allen Lazard (1,018 yards, 7 TDs) one of the best in the conference and Deshaunte Jones (536 yards, 6 TDs) a young playmaker. It’s the same case at running back with David Montgomery (563 yards, 2 TDs) and Mike Warren (559 yards, 3 TDs) expected to split time again. The problem is on the offensive line where for the second straight season, the Cyclones were gutted with only one starter returning for 2017. It’ll be a work in progress with Michigan transfer David Dawson joining up in the summer. After scoring 27.7 points per game a year ago, they’ll try and reach the 30-point mark this season with a more experienced Park.

Defense has been the bigger issue throughout the years and that will probably be the case again. The line on this side of the ball also lost a slew of seniors, although has some newcomers looking to make a difference. Juco transfer Ray Lima is set to be the starting nose tackle, while sophomores Jamahl Johnson and JaQuan Bailey hope to take the next step. Linebacker is interesting because Lanning looked solid in spring in the middle and he’s working with Willie Harvey and Evrett Edwards. The secondary will be Iowa State’s strong suit with Reggie Wilkerson coming over from Georgia to add to the experienced mix at corner with senior Kamari Cotton-Moya at safety. This group allowed 31.3 points per game last year, so there’s plenty of room for improvement.

The Cyclones get a somewhat favorable schedule in non-conference, at least in terms of having home games against Northern Iowa and Iowa. Winning one of those games would go a long way for this team. Things aren’t as easy in the Big 12 with Texas and Oklahoma the first two teams on the schedule with a home game against Kansas being a must-win. The Cyclones don’t have a great schedule with three of their final four on the road, making more than four wins seem like too big of a task. Winning at Akron early will be important, but they’ll still need to steal a game on the road against someone like Texas Tech to reach five wins. A bowl game may be some ways off with the Cyclones having the second-worst odds to win the conference yet again (+12500 at 5Dimes Sportsbook).


2017 Iowa State Cyclones Football Schedule

Sept. 2 vs. Northern Iowa
Sept. 9 vs. Iowa
Sept. 16 at Akron
Sept. 28 vs. Texas

Oct. 7 at Oklahoma
Oct. 14 vs. Kansas
Oct. 21 at Texas Tech

Oct. 28 vs. TCU
Nov. 4 at West Virginia
Nov. 11 vs. Oklahoma State
Nov. 18 at Baylor
Nov. 25 at Kansas State

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