The Iowa State Cyclones have been a very quiet team so far this season with a 3-1 start. This weekend’s defeat against Baylor University might have just been a bump on the road, but it still needs to be evaluated.
Nonetheless, everyone knows the Cyclones are one of the best football teams in Iowa and they also had an impressive win against their rival Iowa on the road at the CyHawk Trophy. Last year the Cyclones lost their best playmaker Breece Hall when he was taken in the second round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets.
While there are teams like Oklahoma still in the way of Iowa State it does not mean that what they have done this far is not impressive.
The O-line enjoying their victory!! Congrats gentlemen!! Way to go!!💛♥️🌪 pic.twitter.com/06Yol5Ikqh
— Lesa Downing (@LesaDowning) September 11, 2022
Roster Changes For New College Season
The most media coverage Iowa State has gotten this year came when Nebraska fired their head coach Scott Frost and rumors started circulating about the Cyclone’s head coach Matt Cambell taking the job. While time will only tell what happens there Iowa State currently controls its own destiny and can win the Big 12.
If Iowa State wants to do this, however, it will highly depend on how their quarterback Hunter Dekkers plays. Through 3 games Dekkers has thrown for 745 yards, has 8 touchdowns, and has only thrown 3 picks. 2 of those 3 picks came against a stingy Iowa defense.
In order for Dekkers to be productive this year and knock off teams like Oklahoma and Texas then the offensive line has to protect him and give him time to throw the ball. Iowa State’s offensive line is led by their senior Trevor Downing.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) December 20, 2017
Can The Cyclones Trust Downing On Defense?
While the Big 12 typically is not known for great defensive play that has not been the case so far this season. Texas held the explosive Alabama offense to just 10 points in the second half. Oklahoma has only allowed 30 points all season long.
The defenses in the conference and overall teams are far better than anyone expected. This is a big year for Trevor Downing since offensive linemen have been one of the most popular positions for NFL teams to draft in the first round.
If he can protect the Cyclone’s quarterback Hunter Dekkers he could find himself being taken there as well. The lack of coverage of Iowa State could actually help them move forward.
Teams like Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas have been highly covered Big 12 teams which means teams are ready for them and they are not surprising anyone with their talent.
This is the opposite for the Cyclones and if Trevor Downing keeps protecting Hunter Dickerson the more Dickerson will feel comfortable making big-time throws. Not only have the Cyclones been under-talked about but their head coach Matt Cambell certainly knows how to prepare for the teams they will have to face.
Iowa State's Trevor Downing is one of the best interior offensive linemen in the country, and he's 𝙙𝙚𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙮 #FarmStrong !
— Iowa Farm Bureau (@IowaFarmBureau) August 23, 2022
Breece Hall Out, Downing In
Iowa State may not have Breece Hall in the backfield this year but even the most elite runningbacks are only as good as their offensive line. Since they do have Trevor Downing blocking for Jirehl Brock the Cyclone’s current running back there is no telling whether he can have similar success on the ground as his predecessor.
They certainly have a strong strength of schedule to where if they win out they will almost certainly find themselves in the college football playoff. While it is not impossible, the Cyclones most likely will not win out. Since this is college football anything could happen and with an upset win over Oklahoma, you never know what could be in store for this team.
Whether or not Iowa State upsets the Sooners or even the Longhorns this year though is not what will dictate if this season is a success or not.
Even with a first-team all-Big 12 lineman like Downing, the reality for Iowa State is that this is still a rebuilding year. They lost Breece Hall and their four-year veteran quarterback in Brock Purdy.
Is a National Championship In The Cards For Iowa State This Year?
Not necessarily but they can certainly have success and potentially knock off a team like Oklahoma if they utilize the run game and run behind their star lineman Trevor Downing. Matt Cambell will currently be looking to prove a lot this year as well.
Matt Campbell’s name is almost always thrown out there when there is a head coaching vacancy in the college football world. While Matt Cambell may or may not move on from Iowa State eventually he still would like to prove he can get wins against elite programs.
If his team is going to do so they will have to be tough at the line of scrimmage and have to grind out victories much like their 10-7 win over Iowa. While it may not be pretty to watch, getting a victory is all that matters to Trevor Downing and the rest of this Iowa State football team.
— Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) September 24, 2022
Credits on Featured Image: Dirk DBQ on Flickr