Iowa State has not made a bowl game since 2012. The Cyclones haven’t been ranked in the AP Top 25 since Sept. 25, 2005.
After beating Texas Tech 31-13 on its home field, Iowa State are on track to accomplish both those goals in just Matt Campbell’s second season.
Since moving quarterback Kyle Kempt into the starting lineup, the Cyclones have been a completely different team. Iowa State is allowing just 15.3 points per game in Big 12 play. Only 17 points – total – have come in the second half of games. The defense has been on another level.
All of that showed up against Texas Tech on Saturday. Iowa State allowed just 18 passing yards in the first half – to an air raid team. The Cyclones took a 24-6 lead at the half and never really looked back.
Now, the Cyclones are 5-2 and 3-1 in Big 12 play, with wins over No. 3 Oklahoma, Kansas and on the road against Texas Tech. Iowa State only needs to beat winless Baylor to make its first bowl game in five seasons. The others are against Kansas State, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 4 TCU and No. 23 West Virginia. However, there’s no reason the Cyclones can’t pull an upset too.
Keep in mind, it’s only Campbell’s second season in Ames. The future is bright for the Cyclones.
Give Ames GameDay
There are two teams in college football who have not hosted ESPN’s College GameDay: Kansas and Iowa State. It’s about time – bring GameDay home to Ames.
The Cyclones should move into the AP Top 25 with No. 4 TCU heading into Ames, Iowa, next weekend. Most likely, it will be the first ranked matchup played at Jack Trice Stadium since No. 19 Iowa State played No. 20 Nebraska on Sept. 28, 2002.
This will be a tremendous midday game in Ames, and there isn’t an especially strong case for another team. No. 2 Penn State playing No. 6 Ohio State is a contender, but the Nittany Lions were on GameDay this week. No. 10 Oklahoma State and No. 23 West Virginia will play in Morgantown, but it’s a noon game.
The Cyclones have interesting stories to feature. Kempt is a walk-on who took the starting job from a Georgia transfer. Joel Lanning moved from quarterback to linebacker, and is now one of the Big 12’s best. Running back David Montgomery and wide receiver Allen Lazard are unknown superstars.
Iowa State is one of the most fun, underrated stories in college football this season. Since beating No. 3 Oklahoma and switching to Kempt, the team has been unstoppable. Iowa State deserves to be featured on a national stage.
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