College Football

ISU 2-Minute Drill: Northern Iowa Panthers


Previewing Saturday's season opener between Iowa State and Northern Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium (7 p.m.,



Northern Iowa allowed just 124.2 yards per game on the ground last season — second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and 18th in all of FCS — and returns some key pieces to that front seven. Defensive end Karter Schult and linebacker Jared Farley are back as the anchors, but will have to contend with a dynamic runner on the other side.

Sophomore Mike Warren had just six carries for 19 yards last season as Iowa State netted 77 rushing yards. Expect that to go up. The Panthers have traditionally succeeded in stopping the run and will see an inexperienced Cyclones offensive line. The interior of Nick Fett and Patrick Scoggins at guard is serviceable, but Jaypee Philbert and Julian Good-Jones on the edge have more question marks around them.

Read more: Patrick Scoggins' mom's advice: 'Knock somebody out'

But give Warren — a 1,000-yard rusher who had six 100-yard games last season — a bit of room and he’ll show his breakaway ability, not to mention quarterback Joel Lanning’s size and tendency to run.

Advantage: Iowa State


Northern Iowa has three seniors and a sophomore slated to start in its secondary. None started against Iowa State last year. Against the Cyclones receivers, there will be a size disadvantage.

The biggest cornerback on the UNI two-deep is Jamison Whiting at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds. The smallest ISU starting receiver — not counting Iowa State’s slot man — is Dondre Daley at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. There’s Allen Lazard (6-5) and tight ends Justin Chandler (6-4) and Cole Anderson (6-4), not to mention Chase Allen (6-6) and Hakeem Butler (6-6) as backups.


ISU quarterback Joel Lanning has plenty of options in the passing game, including the speedy Trever Ryen and Deshaunte Jones in the ‘M’ position.

Advantage: Iowa State



Two 1,000-yard rushers will be in the UNI backfield with quarterback Aaron Bailey and running back Tyvis Smith. Smith earned the third-most yards per carry in the MVFC (5.93) and was 25th in the FCS. Bailey is a true dual-threat and was second in the MVFC in rushing yards (1,334) and rushing touchdowns (19).

Northern Iowa has a couple seniors on its offensive line, but lists two sophomores starting at the tackles and a redshirt freshman as its left guard. If Iowa State can contain Bailey and Smith on the edges with Gabe Luna and Mitchell Meyers as the starting ends, there won’t be many places to go other than up the middle and into nose guard Demond Tucker, who had 13.0 tackles for loss last season.

Advantage: Iowa State


Bailey started 12 of UNI’s 14 games at quarterback last season and had a 55 percent completion rate (121-of-220) with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. He averaged a team-leading 118.29 passing yards per game ahead of two other quarterbacks the Panthers used, but at 6-2 and 222, Bailey is more of a runner than a passer.

Iowa State loaded its secondary through transfers in the offseason with Evrett Edwards (Duke) and D’Andre Payne (Tennessee) having Power Five experience. Kamari Cotton-Moya, Jomal Wiltz, Jay Jones and Brian Peavy — who led the team with 82 tackles — are all back. The Cyclones can use five defensive backs in their 4-2-5 scheme, but will likely stick with a 4-3 against a ground-attack UNI team.

Advantage: Iowa State


Northern Iowa has a new kicker in sophomore Austin Errthum, but junior Sam Kuhter is back as the punter after averaging 42.71 yards per kick last season. Tyvis Smith is one of two kick returners and poses a threat similar to what he does as a running back.

ISU Coach Matt Campbell named senior Cole Netten the starting kicker with sophomore Chris Francis handling kickoffs. Netten made his final eight kicks last year and finished 14-of-19. Colin Downing is solidified at punter and averaged 40.9 yards per punt on 53 kicks, with 20 going down inside the 20.

The Cyclones have plenty of options in the return game with Trever Ryen, Deshaunte Jones, Jomal Wiltz and Allen Lazard. Lazard averaged a school-record 19.5 yards per punt return last season.

Advantage: Iowa State


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1. Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell, the youngest coach of a Power Five school (36), makes his debut with the team as the program’s 32nd head coach after four years at Toledo.

2. Cyclones coaches are 21-8-2 all-time in their debuts while Iowa State is 87-33-4 in its season openers.

3. Iowa State leads the all-time series with Northern Iowa, 21-5-3, but two of those Panthers wins have come in the last nine years.

3 & OUT

1. UNI quarterback Aaron Bailey started his career at Illinois and was teammates with ISU receiver Marchie Murdock. ISU tight ends coach Alex Golesh was on staff at Illinois during that time, too.

2. Northern Iowa’s Director of Athletics David Harris was an Associate AD at Iowa State from 2006-15.

3. UNI Coach Mark Farley holds a 129-61 record since taking over the program in 2001 and needs one win to pass Stan Sheriff to own the most victories by a coach in school history.

ISU WILL WIN IF ... It’s defense can make the Panthers one dimensional and slow down quarterback Aaron Bailey, as well as Tyvis Smith in the running game.

UNI WILL WIN IF ... It can use its one-two punch on its ground attack and take advantage of Iowa State’s youth and inexperience on the offensive line to disrupt Joel Lanning and Mike Warren.

PREDICTION: Iowa State 31, Northern Iowa 14

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