#60 Iowa State Football 2017 Preview

Iowa State Cyclones
Overall Rank: #60
#8 Big 12
Iowa State has not won more than three games since 2012, but Coach Matt Campbell has the program heading into the right direction. The Cyclones may have only won three games again in Coach Campbell’s first season leading the program, but this team was playing very well as the season progressed. Iowa State lost by a touchdown or less against Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. They even played Oklahoma well and lost by just ten points. This year those moral victories will not cut it with bowl hopes on the line.
2016 Record: 3-9, 2-7
2016 Bowl: None
Coach: Matt Campbell (3-9 at Iowa State, 38-24 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tom Manning
Defensive Coordinator: Jon Heacock
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: David Montgomery, RB, 563 yards
Passing: Jacob Park, QB, 1,791 yards
Receiving: Allen Lazard, WR, 1,018 yards
Tackles: Willie Harvey, LB, 78
Sacks: JaQuan Bailey, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Kamari Cotton-Moya, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Mike Warren, QB Joel Lanning, WR Deshaunte Jones, WR Trever Ryen, CB Brian Peavy, LB Evrett Edwards
Key Losses: WR Dondre Daley, OL Nick Fett, OL Patrick Scoggins, DE Jhaustin Thomas, DL Demond Tucker, LB Kane Seeley, DB Jomal Wiltz, K Cole Netten
Jacob Park surpassed Joel Lanning on the quarterback pecking order late last season and threw for 1,791 yards, 12 touchdowns five interceptions. Park leads a very talented offense and this group has the potential to keep up with the more potent offenses in the Big 12. And even if Park struggles, Lanning is back too and he could still be a short yardage quarterback after rushing for 518 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. At wide receiver the Cyclones are loaded. Allen Lazard should again be the main target after catching 69 passes for 1,018 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. Speedy sophomore Deshaunte Jones was second on the team with 37 receptions for 536 yards and six scores. Trever Ryen and Hakeem Butler are experienced options too, but the expectations are higher for 6-4 junior Matt Eaton, a former Temple player who spent some time at Pearl River Community College. David Montgomery had a superb freshman campaign at running back, gaining 563 yards on the ground in 109 carries. He beat out veteran Mike Warren for carries by the end of last season, but Warren is back too and that will give Iowa State a nice one-two punch in the backfield.
If Iowa State is going to seriously compete for a bowl berth, the defense must improve. And that means finding solutions on an often subpar defensive line. End JaQuan Bailey led the team with 3.5 sacks as a freshman, but there is an influx of talent coming from the junior college ranks and that is where Iowa State has potential to really turn things around. If those talented junior college transfers can live up to their potential, the rest of the defense will look much better. Willie Harvey recorded 78 tackles last season and will start at outside linebacker. Evrett Edwards is an experienced senior who will be on the other side. Former quarterback Joel Lanning had a great spring playing at middle linebacker. He could still see some time at quarterback depending on how everything goes at linebacker. Brian Peavy and D’Andre Payne are back and suddenly experienced junior cornerbacks. Safety Kamari Cotton-Moya is a superb playmaker when he is healthy. Staying healthy has been an issue though and ISU will need him on the field.
The Bottom Line:
Iowa State needs to turn some of those moral victories into actual victories this year. They will get another shot at Northern Iowa and Iowa to start off the season. Last year the Cyclones lost to Northern Iowa and were crushed by the Hawkeyes. It will not take long to figure out how much this team has improved since last season. But even if all goes amazingly well and everybody stays healthy, Iowa State is at least a year away from reaching a bowl game.
Projected Bowl: None
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 162.8 (82nd in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 258.8 (40, 6)
Total Offense: 421.6 (60, 8)
Scoring Offense: 27.7 (71, 9)
Rushing Defense: 218.2 (103, 8)
Pass Defense: 234.8 (75, 3)
Total Defense: 452.9 (102, 8)
Scoring Defense: 31.3 (88, 7)
Turnover Margin: -0.25 (85, 5)
Sacks: 1.58 (101, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 2.67 (101, 9)