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Iowa travels to Ames for date with rival Iowa State

How do you even write a preview for this Iowa State team? After a newsworthy offseason filled with gambling allegations (on both sides), lots of suspensions and lots of changes, I’m gonna try to give you a look of what to expect from this years new look Cyclone squad.

After Hunter Dekkers was caught up in the gambling issues this offseason, Iowa State had to choose between 2 players who have played little to no Division 1 football. Ultimately, Rocco Becht ended up being the choice, and he now has the chance to lead the Cyclones into his first CyHawk game.

Becht was a 3 star recruit out of Wesley Chapel, Florida, who also held offers from Bowling Green, FIU, Eastern Kentucky and Columbia. Rocco didn’t get a lot of run in his first season last year, but he was behind Dekkers for the entirety of the season. In week 1 against Northern Iowa, Becht really just did what he needed to. He completed 10 of 13 passes for 113 yards and 2 TDs, and he also chipped in a rushing TD as well. I, like a lot of people, don’t fully know what to expect of Becht this weekend. He has’t played a defense of Iowas caliber, but you have to know that Campbell will have his freshman QB ready for anything and everything that the Hawkeyes throw his way, it’s just a matter of how well he’s able to execute against that stout defense and elite secondary.

At running back, Iowa State really took the committee approach against UNI. Cartevious Norton led the charge for the Cyclones with 11 carries for 49 yards, but highly touted recruit Abu Sama out of Southeast Polk made his debut, and he looked extremely impressive, averaging over 6 yards a carry in his limited work. Eli Sanders also got to pitch in with 5 carries of his own, but only took those carries for a total of 13 yards. I expect ISU to spread their rushing game around and give everyone some work, really keep Iowa guessing. Last season in this game, Jirehl Brock led the Cyclone rushing attack with 27 carries for 100 yards, but Brock is no longer with the team also due to gambling violations.

On the receiver front, ISU’s biggest returner is Jaylin Noel. Last year Noel had 572 yards and 3 TDs. What really scares me in this Cyclone passing attack is their Tight Ends. Last week, Iowa States top 3 pass-catchers were all tight ends. The combination of Ben Brahmer, Easton Dean and Aidan Bitter combined for 6 catches for 76 yards and 2 TDs. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but then you realize that is more than 65% of their receiving yards from last week. They have threats that can spread the middle of the field if you aren’t careful.

Defensively, Iowa State might very well be the best defensive unit Iowa sees all season outside of maybe Penn State. Against UNI, the Iowa State rush defense was lethal, letting up less than 3 yards per carry. They also held NFL prospect Theo Day to just 164 yards passing, and also forced 2 picks. Last season, ISU had by far the best defense in the Big 12, their offense just severely held them back (seems to be a trend in the state of Iowa). The Hawkeyes are going to need to pull out a great game-plan to have success against this elite defense, time will tell if they actually do.

Iowa State is not going to be a pushover, even with the limited experience that they have on the roster. Iowa is going to need to play smart and play great football to regain the CyHawk trophy once again. If you don’t know, this game truly is one of the best in-state rivalries in all of college football, and I expect another fantastic game on Saturday on Fox.

 

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