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2018

Iowa State

College Football

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Iowa State had an incredible turnaround in 2017, which led to an 8-5 record and a bowl win over Memphis. The hardest part of having a good season is living up to the previous one and that’s what Matt Campbell will try and do for the Cyclones. Their over/under of 6.5 wins (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) is better than a year ago, but they still aren’t expected to contend for a Big 12 title. 

Last season’s offensive revival almost came out of nowhere as Kyle Kempt became a competent quarterback and finished with 13 touchdowns and only three picks, completing 66.8% of his passes. Back for another season, he’ll need to be even better with most of his top receiving options gone. Improvement along the line will be key as well with four starters back, albeit a freshman likely at center. If that can happen, the ‘Clones should get enough out of Kempt and running back David Montgomery (1,094 yards, 11 TDs) to surpass last year’s 29.9 points per game. Montgomery slogged through the end of the season with just 28 carries for 66 yards in the last two games and he’ll need more help this year, whether that’s Mike Warren or Sheldon Croney. At receiver, stud Allen Lazard is gone, which means everyone else has to step up. Hakeem Butler (586 yards, 6 TDs) steps into a bigger role along with Deshaunte Jones (25 receptions) and Matthew Eaton (21 receptions). Montgomery will also get his share of catches after 35 last year.

There is some drop off expected for Iowa State on the defensive end after allowing only 21 points per game with Joel Lanning running the show. Defense was the main reason ISU had multiple upsets last year from the game at Oklahoma to giving up only seven points to TCU. Five starters are gone (Lanning included) with most of them playing in the middle of the field, which could be a problem. There are still quality guys on the outside in linebackers Marcel Spears and Willie Harvey, as well as two of the better corners in the Big 12 in seniors Brian Peavy and D’Andre Payne, but the middle of the field can’t be exploited. That starts with nose tackle Ray Lima to go with a possible freshman at middle linebacker and new safeties.

The Cyclones don’t get much time to get their feet under them as SDSU is always a tough FCS opponent and then they have to get revenge at Iowa before hosting Oklahoma in only the third game of the year. It doesn’t get tougher than back-to-back trips to TCU and OK State, but things open up from there with their final six games all favorable outside of the game at Texas. With Kempt at quarterback and enough pieces returning defensively, there’s no reason this team can’t be as good. That means seven wins are on the table in the regular season and that’s still leaving room for a big upset like one at Texas or one of the Oklahoma’s, both of which have new quarterbacks. Surprisingly, only six wins may be considered a disappointment for some Cyclone fans no matter what the over/under says.

 

2018 Iowa State Cyclones Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. South Dakota State

Sept. 8 at Iowa

Sept. 15 vs. Oklahoma

Sept. 22 vs. Akron

Sept. 29 at TCU

Oct. 6 at Oklahoma State

Oct. 13 vs. West Virginia

Oct. 27 vs. Texas Tech

Nov. 3 at Kansas

Nov. 10 vs. Baylor

Nov. 17 at Texas

Nov. 24 vs. Kansas State

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