STILLWATER, Okla. — With one significant road win, the schedule has suddenly opened up a bit for the Iowa State football team.
The rejuvenated Cyclones (2-3, 1-2 Big 12) — a 48-42 winner on Saturday at No. 21 Oklahoma State — have seven games left in their season. Beginning this Saturday against sixth-ranked West Virginia (5-0, 3-0), five will be played within the home comforts of Jack Trice Stadium.
“Coming back to Jack Trice after two games away, I know our fans will love it,” Iowa State senior cornerback Brian Peavy said. “They’re going to be into the game. We’re going to prepare to do our best and come out with a win for Cyclone nation.”
Further down the schedule, it would appear that the Cyclones have a noticeable opportunity to accumulate more victories as they pursue bowl eligibility for the second year in a row. While Baylor and Texas Tech appear to be improved, both travel to Ames. A road game at Kansas and a home tilt with Kansas State — each winless in conference play — dot the November portion of the slate, while the regular season ends with a Dec. 1 home game against FCS Incarnate Word, a replacement opponent for the Sept. 1 weather cancellation game against South Dakota State.
Current bowl eligibility regulations allow a team to include one win against FCS teams.
Iowa State has just one road game remaining against a ranked opponent — Nov. 17 at No. 15 Texas. While the Cyclones have won their last three games against ranked foes away from Jack Trice Stadium — Oklahoma State this season, Memphis and Oklahoma in 2017 — third-year Coach Matt Campbell is quick to point out that any surge in player confidence after Saturday is more about the overall process improvement within the program.
“It’s not about winning and losing,” Campbell said. “It’s about our ability to get better. It’s about our ability to stay the course and growth. I think that’s the thing that this football team really gets. They understand that. If they didn’t, I think you would have saw a whole different outcome (Saturday) and what happened in this football game. It’s really just about processing and continuing to get better. It’s a long football season.”
Iowa State has won 10 of its last 18 games, and all eight defeats were by 10 points or less. With the positive juice from a 48-point offensive effort and road win at Oklahoma State, the Cyclones feel like they are poised for a big second half.
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“That’s a big-time win,” Peavy said. “Not only for this team, but for the university and for this program to know that all the hard work is paying off. I’m excited to see where this season goes.”
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