2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Iowa State Offense
The running game has to be found right away. The Cyclones finished dead last in the conference in rushing even with David Montgomery coming up with 1,216 yards and 13 scores. QB Brock Purdy finished second with 308 yards. That was about it for a ground game that ran for under 1,700 yards and averaged 3.6 yards per carry.
Normally, when the stats are that bad, it’s because there were a whole slew of sacks and tackles – not in this case. A few running backs will get their shot at the gig, but no matter who’s getting the work, overall, the offense needs to hit around 200 yards per game after only hitting the mark twice last year. On the plus side, it was all an improvement from 2017.
Biggest Key To The Iowa State Defense
Be better against the accurate passing teams, and come up with more picks. Overall, the Cyclone secondary did a solid job in the pass-happy Big 12. However, there were problems when quarterbacks were razor-sharp. Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Washington State all completed 70% of their passes or more, and Iowa State lost all four of those games.
In those four games, Iowa State came up with a grand total of one interception, and it only generated seven in the other eight games. It was the third time in four years that the Cyclones failed to come up with double-digit picks.
Key Player To A Successful Season
RB Sheldon Croney, Sr.
Spin the wheel, and you might have the right Iowa State starting running back. Sophomore Johnnie Lang is a speedster who needs the ball in his hands in a variety of ways, and 206-pound junior Ken Nwangwu is the leading returning running back – with just 157 yards – but Croney has just enough time logged in to turn into the main man. As David Montgomery’s top backup over the last few seasons, he’s ready.
Key Game To The Iowa State Season
at Baylor, Sept. 28
Want a horrible stat? Iowa State is 1-15 in its last 16 Big 12 openers.
As good as Iowa State has been over the last two seasons, it got off to a rough start in conference play both times. Granted, facing Oklahoma to start out the 2017 Big 12 season and Texas to start the 2017 campaign were problems, but it’s time to get going right away.
With three of the first four conference games on the road, getting this all going with a win in Waco would be a big deal.
– Iowa State Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Iowa State Fun Stats
– Penalties: Opponents 81 for 786 yards – Iowa State 62 for 517 yards
– Rushing Yards Per Attempt: Iowa State 3.6 – Opponents 3.3
– Red Zone Scoring: Iowa State 41-of-45 chances – Opponents 35-of-46 chances