#64 Iowa State Football 2014 Preview

Iowa State Cyclones

Overall Rank: #64
#9 Big 12

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There is certainly a big gap between the top and the bottom of the Big 12, but Iowa State has been hanging around in the middle for a couple of years under Coach Paul Rhoads. This is a program that reached bowl games in 2011 and 2012. The 2013 campaign was mostly forgettable though. The Cyclones began the year with a loss to Northern Iowa and their only victory in the first ten games of the season came against Tulsa. That includes a 71-7 loss at Baylor, the largest margin of victory in Big 12 history. But Iowa State did end the 2013 campaign with victories over Kansas and West Virginia. This may not be a team that can reach the middle of the conference pecking order this year, but they should be at the top of the bottom.

2013 Record: (3-9, 2-7)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Paul Rhoads (27-36 at Iowa State, 27-36 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mark Mangino
Defensive Coordinator: Wally Burnham

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Aaron Wimberly, RB, 567 yards
Passing: Sam B. Richardson, QB, 1,397 yards
Receiving: Quenton Bundrage, WR, 676 yards
Tackles: Jared Brackens, LB, 61
Sacks: Jared Brackens, LB, 2.0; Cory Morrissey, DL, 2.0
Interceptions: Nigel Tribune, DB, 1

Other Key Returnees: QB Grant Rohach, TE E.J. Bibbs, CB Sam E. Richardson, K Cole Netten, OL Tom Farniok, LB Luke Knott

Key Losses: RB Shontrelle Johnson, WR Justin Coleman, LB Jeremiah George, DB Jacques Washington

The offense looked good under Grant Rohach at the end of the year. He had back-to-back 300 yard outings over KU and WVU, ending the year with 1,208 yards and eight touchdowns. His seven interceptions were far too many, but he can make plays. Rohach is getting competition from Sam Richardson, the former starter who totaled 1,397 yards and 11 touchdown passes in 2013, and freshman Joel Lanning. Finding a consistent quarterback in August and riding them through the entire season would be great, but at least Coach Rhoads has options. With playmakers like Quenton Bundrage, E.J. Bibbs and Aaron Wimberly, whoever is under center will be successful as long as they can get the ball to those guys on a relatively consistent basis. The return of all five starters on the line and enough depth behind them could be huge. It is not the most imposing offensive line in the Big 12, but experience alone should help the unit pave the way for Wimberly on the ground and keep Rohach and company on their feet.

This defense may actually be worse than the unit last year that allowed 71 points against Baylor and 36 per game. The defensive line is a mixed bag. End Cory Morrissey is expected to be the star of the defense, but the tackle spot is terribly thin. If some junior college transfers do not pan out, running on the Cyclones will be far too easy. The return of Luke Knott from an injury that saw him miss six games last season, gives the linebackers some hope. Jared Brackens, with 61, is the team’s top returning tackler. The secondary has a couple young corners with experience in Nigel Tribune and Sam E. Richardson. The safety spots, however, have very few options to replace Jacques Washington.

The Bottom Line:
New offensive coordinator Mark Mangino has talent to work with, but the same problems may plague this team that did in 2013. If the defense cannot do much of anything, the young quarterbacks are going to feel a lot of pressure to get things done. That often leads to forced passes and turnovers. Iowa State cannot afford to lose the turnover battle. The schedule is not very friendly either. The Cyclones start against North Dakota State and if they can lose to Northern Iowa, they can certainly lose to NDSU. Other non-conference contests are against Iowa, of course, and a decent Toledo team. The winnable Big 12 games are not until November and December, but by then the lack of overall depth across the defense could have all but put an end to Iowa State’s season.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 143.8 (89th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 219.2 (76, 7)
Total Offense: 363.0 (96, 8)
Scoring Offense: 24.8 (89, 9)
Rushing Defense: 224.0 (112, 10)
Pass Defense: 239.1 (75, 7)
Total Defense: 463.1 (105, 10)
Scoring Defense: 36.0 (108, 10)
Turnover Margin: -0.1 (70, 7)
Sacks: 1.25 (112, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 3.17 (115, 10)

Madness 2014 Recruit Rankings:
#138 Allen Lazard


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