AMES — Iowa State has seven wins over top-25 teams since 2017 under head coach Matt Campbell.
The Cyclones have won their next game in every instance except one, in 2017 when Iowa State beat No. 4 TCU and then lost to West Virginia the next week.
Some teams ride the rollercoaster and have a hard time following up big wins with another win. Whether they get too confident in themselves or just get complacent, it’s a problem teams around the country deal with.
Iowa State just beat No. 18 Oklahoma on Saturday and tight end Charlie Kolar couldn’t tell after the game whether they won or lost based on Campbell’s message in the locker room.
“The good thing about Campbell is if you miss his message once, you’ll get it again the next 10 weeks — I’m just kidding,” Kolar said. “If you took Campbell’s message after a loss and after a win, you couldn’t tell the difference. Both times he says stuff about how we need to get better.
“After the OU win, he was like, ‘It was a great win but still, we have to come back the next week and improve.’ It felt like we won the game but it also felt like we lost the game so I’m ready to go for this next week.”
Campbell’s approach is for the long term.
“For us, whether it’s a win or a loss, we know that the reality is you’re judged at the end of the season, not from game to game,” Campbell said. “I think sometimes that can be hard for everybody else but I think in our walls, our kids understand that.
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“We’ve never been results-driven. I think we’ve always been process-driven and we’re fortunate to have the right leadership to really guide that. Some years have been better than others, but it will be a real challenge and I think this group’s gotten tested in a negative way and obviously have gotten tested in positive ways. But it’s going to be a collective challenge, especially in a unique year like we’re in right now where it’s not just even the emotional highs and lows of what goes on in the result of a game, but also everything else around us.
“These are all great challenges and what an opportunity to lead with great leaders and we’re fortunate to have some great leaders in our program.”
O captain! My captain!
Keen eyes will notice a lot more Iowa State jerseys with a capital “C” on them. That’s because Campbell made every senior and four juniors — Brock Purdy, Mike Rose, O’Rien Vance and Anthony Johnson — captains for their leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I made it easy on our team and I picked the captains this year,” said Campbell, who normally has the players vote. “For me, it was easy. It was the 16 seniors and then the four juniors. Those guys really stood up into some leadership roles this offseason for us.
“I really thought it would be a mistake to single anybody out and these guys’ leadership was pivotal for us sticking together and unifying through what were the most unique circumstances sporting teams have faced. I just didn’t think it was fair to go any other route. It’s been a real positive and I appreciate the leadership of that group.”
Injury and COVID-19 report
Iowa State’s injury report is shrinking and is currently down to just left guard Trevor Downing, who was hurt in the season opener Sept. 12 against Louisiana. Downing is still day-to-day.
Iowa State also went through its Sunday COVID-19 testing and once again, zero players tested positive. The Cyclones have yet to have a player test positive during the season.