#69 Iowa State Football 2015 Preview

Iowa State Cyclones

Overall Rank: #69
#9 Big 12

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There was just one thing for Iowa State to hold onto from last season. They won at Iowa 20-17. Other than that there was a win over Toledo and a whole lot of bad losses. Coach Paul Rhoads and company need to forget about all of that and keep moving forward. Respectability may not happen, but this team should be better than they were last year and win a few more games too.

2014 Record: 2-10, 0-9
2014 Bowl: None
Coach: Paul Rhoads (29-46 at Iowa State, 29-46 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mark Mangino
Defensive Coordinator: Wally Burnham

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Sam B. Richardson, QB, 421 yards
Passing: Sam B. Richardson, QB, 2,669 yards
Receiving: D’Vario Montgomery, WR, 605 yards
Tackles: Kamari Cotton-Moya, S, 77
Sacks: Dale Pierson, DE, 2.0; Trent Taylor, DE, 2.0
Interceptions: Sam E. Richardson, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: RB Tyler Brown, WR Allen Lazard, WR Quenton Bundrage, K Cole Netten, P Colin Downing, LB Luke Knott, CB Nigel Tribune

Key Losses: RB Aaron Wimberly, TE E.J. Bibbs, OL Tom Farnick, WR Jarvis West, DE Corey Morrissey, DB T.J. Mutcherson, LB Jevohn Miller

There is hope that the Cyclones offense can be much improved. They did rank 50th in the nation and 6th in the Big 12 in passing offense and quarterback Sam Richardson is back to improve on those numbers. Richardson threw for 2,669 yards and 18 touchdowns and is getting more comfortable in Mark Mangino’s offensive scheme. Richardson has a great stable of receivers to work with too. D’Vario Montgomery and Allen Lazard are both big receivers who played pretty well in 2014 as underclassmen. The return of Quenton Bundrage is the big story though. He tore his ACL in the opener last year and is now healthy and ready to build off his 2013 campaign in which he caught 47 passes for 676 yards and nine touchdowns. The running game is more of an issue with Aaron Wimberly and Shontrelle Johnson gone. The ground game was never all that effective though and maybe sophomores Tyler Brown and Martinez Syria can get things rolling.

The defense was awful last year. The only time the team gave up less than 30 points in a game was the win over Iowa. This is a team that allowed 34 points each against North Dakota State, Kansas and Texas Tech; and 34 points was below their average. As awful as the defense was last year, there is not much hope for improvement this year. Linebacker is a huge problem, especially if Luke Knott cannot stay healthy. The line has some experience and Iowa State hopes there is depth now too. Still, ends Dale Pierson and Trent Taylor are the top sack leaders with just 2.0 each. The secondary returns starting cornerbacks Sam E. Richardson and Nigel Tribune, as well as Freshman All-American Kamari Cotton-Moya. If the front four can get some pressure on the quarterback, the secondary should be talented enough to be improved against the pass; but improved is not saying all that much.

The Bottom Line:
The schedule shapes up nicely for Iowa State to have their hopes crushed. They begin the year against Northern Iowa. Last year the Cyclones were crushed by FCS powerhouse North Dakota State in the opener. Northern Iowa is an FCS powerhouse too, but not as much as NDSU. A home date with Iowa and a trip to Toledo are winnable too considering ISU beat those two last year. And then they face Kansas at Jack Trice Stadium, easily the most winnable Big 12 game on the schedule. The next most winnable Big 12 game is at Texas Tech. While 2-3 is more likely, it is perfectly feasible for Iowa State to start the year 5-0…and end the season 5-7.

Projected Bowl: None

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 124.1 (105th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 248.4 (50, 6)
Total Offense: 372.5 (89, 8)
Scoring Offense: 23.2 (96, 8)
Rushing Defense: 246.3 (120, 9)
Pass Defense: 282.7 (119, 10)
Total Defense: 528.9 (125, 10)
Scoring Defense: 38.8 (115, 9)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (59, 5)
Sacks: 1.25 (112, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (95, 9)


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