Head Coach: Matt Campbell (11-14)
2017 Record: 8-5 (T4th in Big 12)
Offensive Scheme: Spread
Defensive Scheme: 3-4 Base
Key Offensive Losses: QB Jacob Park (Transfer), WR Allen Lazard, WR Marchie Murdock
Key Defensive Losses: LB Joel Lanning, S Kamari Cotton-Moya, DE J.D. Waggoner
It’s amazing what happens when players buy in to a coach’s philosophy. In a conference that is dominated by offense, Matt Campbell sold his players on the idea of playing a stingy ball-control offense and putting a primary focus on defense.
The results were staggering as Iowa State improved from the nation’s 102nd ranked defense in 2016 (452.9 yards per game) to 43rd in 2017 (366.2 yards per game). More importantly the Cyclones won eight games in a season for just the sixth time in the last 100 years, beating two Top 5 teams in the process.
After sneaking past Memphis (21-20) in the Liberty Bowl, Campbell found himself, and his program, in a place they haven’t been in a long time. ISU suddenly had one of the top coaching prospects in the country and the Cyclones were heading into the off-season with a ton of momentum, having won six of their final nine games.
|2017 Offensive Leaders|
|Kyle Kempt||1,787||David Montgomery||1,146||Allen Lazard||941|
Kyle Kempt was granted a sixth year of eligibility which gives the Cyclones the advantage of having one of the more knowledgeable quarterbacks in the conference. For perhaps what he lacks in arm strength he more than makes up for it with field leadership and knowledge.
Of course having a guy like David Montgomery in the backfield certainly benefits Kempt. Defenses will play to Montgomery first in an effort to force Kempt to beat them through the air. That’s just fine for Kempt because that was his recipe for success in 2017.
Montgomery’s recipe for success comes in his elusiveness. Of all of his stats in 2017 (1,146 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, 11 rushing touchdowns), the most impressive is one hundred missed tackles.
|2017 Offensive Stastics|
Allen Lazard was an all-star talent but even in his absence ISU still has depth at receiver. Chase Allen was named second-team All-Big 12 last season and has 6’6″ junior Hakeem Butler and 6’4″ senior Matt Eaton sharing the field with him.
The question for Iowa State’s offense is going to be along the offensive line. Guards Julian Good-Jones and Josh Knipfel and tackle Bryce Meeker return from last year but the Cyclones have two open spots and the personnel that fills those spots will be a key factor in ISU’s offensive success.
|2018 Iowa State Schedule|
|September 1||South Dakota State|
|September 8||at Iowa|
|September 29||at TCU|
|October 6||at Oklahoma State|
|October 13||West Virginia|
|October 27||Texas Tech|
|November 3||at Kansas|
|November 17||@ Texas|
|November 24||Kansas State|
|2017 Defensive Leaders|
|Joel Lanning||114||JaQuan Bailey||7||Kamari Cotton-Moya||3|
Iowa State has a strong nucleus returning from their 2017 team that frustrated much of the Big 12. Junior linebacker Marcel Spears finished sixth in the Big 12 in tackles last season. Junior nose guard Ray Lima is a beast in the middle of the line, and defensive end JaQuan Bailey was fifth in the Big 12 in sacks last season.
Iowa State's Marcel Spears is the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week. He had a 61-yard pick six #Cyclones https://t.co/JrAoLgQFAU
— DFW TEXAS PROSPECTS (@DFWTxProspects) October 23, 2017
The deepest spot on the Iowa State defense is the line. Kamilo Tongamoa, Jamahl Johnson and Matt Leo join Lima and Bailey to solidify the Cyclones up front.
ISU has huge shoes to fill in the absences of Joel Lanning and Kamari Cotton-Moya but promising youngsters are in abundance. Tymar Sutton, O’Rien Vance and Jake Hummel will battle it out to replace Lanning at middle linebacker and Lawrence White will have the opportunity to replace Cotton-Moya.
The Cyclones also have the luxury of two senior cornerbacks on the outsides of their defense. Brian Peavy and D’Andre Payne share 54 combined starts with Peavy being Iowa State’s active career leader in tackles, interceptions and starts.
|2017 Defensive Stastics|
Iowa State must replace both kickers from 2017. Brayden Narveson was one of the top prep kicker prospects in the nation and Corey Dunn was ranked as one of the top junior college punters in the country.