Iowa State has not made a bowl game since 2012. The Cyclones haven’t been ranked in the AP Top 25 since Sept. 25, 2005.
After beating Texas Tech 31-13 on its home field, Iowa State is on track to accomplish both goals in just Matt Campbell’s second season.
Since moving quarterback Kyle Kempt into the starting lineup, the Cyclones have been a different team.
The Cyclones’ defensive confidence is mushrooming after allowing just 15.3 points per game in Big 12 play. Only 17 points — total — have come in the second half of games. Their defensive play has been on another level.
All of that showed up against Texas Tech on Saturday. Iowa State allowed just 18 passing yards in the first half — to a Red Raiders’ team that came into the game ranked fifth nationally in passing. The Cyclones took a 24-6 lead at the half and never looked back.
Now, the Cyclones are 5-2 and 3-1 in Big 12 play, with wins over No. 3 Oklahoma, Kansas and on the road against Texas Tech. Iowa State only needs to beat winless Baylor to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2012.
Their other games are against Kansas State, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 4 TCU and No. 23 West Virginia. However, there’s no reason the Cyclones can’t pull another upset, too.
Keep in mind, it’s only Campbell’s second season in Ames. The future is bright for the Cyclones.
Give Ames GameDay
There are two Big 12 teams in college football that have not hosted ESPN’s College GameDay: Kansas and Iowa State. It’s about time — bring GameDay home to Ames, Iowa.
The Cyclones should move into the AP Top 25 with No. 4 TCU heading into Ames next weekend. Most likely, it will be the first ranked matchup played at Jack Trice Stadium since No. 19 Iowa State faced No. 20 Nebraska on Sept. 28, 2002.
This will be a tremendous mid-day game in Ames, and there isn’t an especially strong case for featuring another game. The best game appears to be with No. 2 Penn State playing No. 6 Ohio State, but the Nittany Lions were on GameDay Saturday and Penn State coach James Franklin can only make so many appearances on GameDay before they become jaded.
Another Big 12 game will feature No. 10 Oklahoma State and No. 23 West Virginia in Morgantown, W.Va., but it’s a noon (ET) game.
The Cyclones have interesting stories to feature. Kempt is a walk-on who took the starting job from a Georgia transfer. Joel Lanning moved from quarterback to linebacker, and is now one of the Big 12’s best defensive players. Running back David Montgomery and wide receiver Allen Lazard are underrated standouts.
Iowa State is one of the most interesting stories in college football this season. Since beating No. 3 Oklahoma and switching to Kempt, the team has been virtually unstoppable.
Considering what Campbell and his crew have accomplished, Iowa State deserves to be featured on a national stage.