116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The third installment of a series ranking Iowa's 12 opponents for the 2014 season. Today: No. 10 Iowa State
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
: 3-9 (2-7 Big 12)
Returning offensive starters (11):
TE E.J. Bibbs; WR Quenton Bundrage (17); OL Daniel Burton; OL Brock Dagel; WR Tad Ecby; OL Jacob Gannon; OL Tom Farniok; OL Jamison Lalk; OL Oni Omoile; QB Sam B. Richardson (10); RB Aaron Wimberly
Projected starting offense:
TE E.J. Bibbs, sr., 6-3, 261; RT Jacob Gannon, sr., 6-7, 301; RG Jamison Lalk, jr., 6-6, 303 OR Oni Omoile, jr., 6-3, 297; C Tom Farniok, sr., 6-4, 300; LG Daniel Burton, so., 6-5, 320 OR Oni Omoile, jr., 6-3, 297; LT Brock Dagel, jr., 6-8, 303; QB Grant Rohach, so., 6-1, 224 OR Sam B. Richardson, jr., 6-2, 223 OR Joel Lanning, fr., 6-2, 236; TB Aaron Wimberly, sr., 5-9, 174; WR Dondre Daley, so., 6-1, 191; WR Jarvis West, sr., 5-7, 177 OR Tad Ecby, jr., 6-0, 203; WR Quenton Bundrage, jr., 6-2, 191
Returning defensive starters (5):
LB Jared Brackens; LB Jevohn Miller; DL Cory Morrissey; CB Sam E. Richardson; CB Nigel Tribune
Projected starting defense:
LE Mitchell Meyers, so., 6-4, 262; DT Pierre Aka, so., 6-4, 285; NG Devlyn Cousin, so., 6-1, 295; RE Cory Morrissey, sr., 6-4, 260; SLB/N Drake Ferch, sr., 5-11, 212; MLB Kane Seeley, so., 6-1, 240 OR Luke Knott, so., 6-0, 218; WLB Jevohn Miller, sr., 6-1, 243; RCB Nigel Tribune, so., 5-10, 183; LCB Kenneth Lynn, jr., 5-10, 166; SS T.J. Mutcherson, so., 5-11, 203; FS Kamari Cotton-Moya, fr., 6-0, 190
Returning specialists (5): K Cole Netten, so., 6-1, 213; PR Jarvis West, sr., 5-7, 177; KR DeVondrick Nealy, jr., 5-10, 190; KR Aaron Wimberly, sr., 5-9, 174; LS Spencer Thornton, sr., 6-1, 251
TE Ernst Brun, RB Shontrelle Johnson, OL Kyle Lichtenberg, OL Ethan Tuftee, RB James White, RB Jeff Woody, DB Deon Broomﬁeld; LB Jeremiah George, DL Brandon Jensen, DB Charlie Rogers, DE Willie Scott, FS Jacques Washington, DL David Irving, DL Rodney Coe
WR Allen Lazard (6-5, 204), DB Devron Moore (6-0, 195), DE Gabe Luna (6-1, 245), S Victor Holmes (5-11, 177), DE Dalyou Pierson (6-4, 270), S Qujuan Floyd (6-0, 190), WR D'Vario Montgomery (6-5, 205, transfer from South Florida), DE Trent Taylor (6-2, 250), DE Terry Ayeni (6-4, 265)
The Cyclones never found their footing in 2013. The team opened the season with losses to state rivals Northern Iowa and Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium. ISU also had both of its bye weeks in September, so by the end of the month, when most teams have a feel for what they can be, the Cyclones played just three games in a span of more than a month. The rhythm was never right in 2013.
Look at quarterback. It ended on seemingly solid ground. Sophomore Grant Rohach started the final four games, which saw the Cyclones win two of their three games (Kansas and at West Virginia). It took awhile to get to Rohach, and it might not have happened if Sam B. Richardson hadn't been banged up to the point where he was ineffective. So, of course, this spring begins with ISU in a three-man wrestle-off at QB, with redshirt freshman Joel Lanning joining the fun.
The ISU message has focused on those final two victories. Really, there is no other choice. ISU's other win was against Tulsa of the Conference USA.
The lowlights were many for ISU. The lowest was a 71-7 embarrassment at the hands of Baylor. The 64-point margin of victory is a Big 12 Conference game record.
A30 North Dakota State; S6 Kansas State; S13 at Iowa; S27 Baylor; O4 at Oklahoma State; O11 Toledo; O18 at Texas; N1 Oklahoma; N8 at Kansas; N22 Texas Tech; N29 West Virginia; Dec. 6 at TCU
The Cyclones need to come out of fall camp with a good idea of what they are. They open with North Dakota State, the reigning FCS champion that won last season at Kansas State. ISU then plays host to Kansas State. It's the conference opener and could set the tone for the nine-game Big 12 schedule. The Big 12 has 10 teams, so everyone plays everyone. It's a real conference in every sense of the word. It also means perennial tough roads for ISU. Then, the Cyclones travel to Iowa. The Hawkeyes rushed 60 times against ISU last season. The Cyclones lost DTs David Irving and Rodney Coe for off-field reasons this offseason. After Iowa, ISU welcomes Baylor and will have all the motivation in the world.
Let's say Texas Tech. The Cyclones gave the Red Raiders everything they could handle in a 42-35 loss at Lubbock last season. This year, Tech comes after Kansas, which, on paper and for now, is ISU's best chance for a win in the Big 12 this season. After Tech, it's West Virginia, a team capable of a victory run or a spectacular couch burnout under coach Dana Holgorsen. At some point, coach Paul Rhoads will want his program to keep step with the mid-level Big 12 teams. Kansas isn't and never will be one of those teams. Texas Tech, especially under GQ/Backstreet Boys head coach Kliff Kingsbury, is exactly that team.
Glass half-full: If the QB position stabilizes, the Cyclones should be able to score some points, maybe a lot of points. The Cyclones should have a solid core of receivers. Junior Quenton Bundrage had a semi-breakout ‘13, catching 48 passes for 676 yards and nine TDs. It was a 'semi-breakout” in that when Rhoads talks Bundrage, it seems he wants the 6-2, 191-pound junior to find a higher level of consistency. ISU's receiver group is the team's deepest and, perhaps, most talented position group. The Cyclones also welcome Urbandale's Allen Lazard, a 6-5, 204-pounder who was the state's No. 1 recruit with offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Iowa and Nebraska. (Rhoads on 'feverish” - Rhoads' word - calls Iowa made to Lazard in the final days of recruiting.)
Tight end E.J. Bibbs is perhaps the Big 12's top returning TE (39 catches for 462 yards). And, oh yeah, Rhoads hired former Kansas coach and offensive fire-starter Mark Mangino this offseason. Mangino took three years off after he was fired at Kansas. He was an assistant at Youngstown State last season before Rhoads made the most astute assistant hire in the league this offseason.
The Cyclones will have a chance to score points. They will have to play defense at some point. Can they? The defensive line loses three starters. Irving and Coe were stout inside players and to lose them to off-field issues is an unexpected setback to say the least (NT Brandon Jensen's return should help). The linebackers are still somewhat new, with sophomore Luke Knott missing spring practice with an injury. ISU will depend on junior-college transfers to fill in at safety. If jucos come through - count the D-line in that, too - ISU's defense has a chance, but the Big 12 is a NASCAR league.
On paper, it's hard to see this defense holding up. Incoming juco D-ends Trent Taylor and Terry Ayeni should have a legitimate shot at rotation time. Taylor signed with Tennessee coming out of high school and had three sacks and 10 tackles for loss at Butler (Kan.) Community College last season. Ayeni picked Iowa State over Northern Illinois and South Florida.
The Iowa angle:
Last season, Iowa was able to deflate this game. It got two big plays - LB James Morris' interception and WR Jacob Hillyer's 26-yard TD reception - and then it ran and ran and ran running back Mark Weisman. The 6-0, 230-pounder rushed 35 times for 145 yards. Iowa simply wanted to win the road game with the least amount of risk, especially with QB Jake Rudock making his first start. It was a three-hour headlock.
Iowa held a 27-7 lead with midway through the fourth quarter. Then, ISU got it going in the passing game with two quick-strike TD passes. Iowa needed an incredible one-handed interception from B.J. Lowery and a recovered onside kick to finish off ISU.
So, can ISU beat Iowa this season through the air? Probably not, but don't dismiss what ISU might be able to do in the running game. Center Tom Farniok is an all-Big 12 and Rimington Trophy candidate. Running back Aaron Wimberly is a good combination of edge speed and between-the-tackle strength.
But let's not get carried away. If Iowa has to, it will run the ball 70 times in this game. It shouldn't have to. It should be able to work something in the air, too. This should be a game Iowa's offense has a big say in.
And a reminder, Iowa and Iowa State are under contract to face each other, barring some crazy conference expansion that kills the deal, through the 2021 season. It was agreed to just last November, so, yes, this game is in the books for quite some time.
'I would anticipate we'll probably have [a No. 1 quarterback] named by the middle of August. First scrimmage, potentially. Second scrimmage, for sure.” - ISU head coach Paul Rhoads on ISU's QB race between Grant Rohach, Sam Richardson and Joel Lanning
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