Iowa State Cyclones Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Iowa State season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Iowa State Cyclones Preview
Head Coach: Matt Campbell, 7th year at Iowa State, 42-34
12th year overall: 77-48, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 7-6, Conference: 5-4
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Top 10 Players | Iowa State Schedule & Analysis
Iowa State Cyclones Preview 2022
Yeah, it wasn’t the season everyone hoped for after a phenomenal 2020 – and with just about all the key parts back – and yeah, it ended with a bowl loss, and yeah, there were only seven wins for a team many thought was among the ten best in the country, and …
Take a wee step back here. Of course the bar is set higher now at Iowa State and just being very good with a bowl appearance expected, but this isn’t normal. This run of success off of Matt Campbell is way off brand for Iowa State football.
Just ask any Cyclone fan who lived through the 1990s – an entire decade without a winning season – or when two wins were the norm for a while in the 1960s, or when it was a big deal just to get a conference win for years and years.
The 7-6 2021 season made it five straight winning campaigns. The last time the program was able to do that was from 1923 to 1928, and it took just four victories each season get there.
Going forward, this is the rebuilding year. This is when everything Campbell and his staff created has to work with this being about the systems and talent development.
This year is about consistency, and about showing that Iowa State football will be a power player in the new Big 12 in 2023.
Iowa State Cyclones Preview 2022: Offense
Not to offense shame here, but the Iowa State defense was great last season. The other side didn’t always hold up its end of the bargain even though it finished fourth in the Big 12 in total yards.
The downfield passing game wasn’t good enough, the ground attack wasn’t consistent enough considering it had Breece Hall to handle the work, and overall it had a strange way of not coming through in the clutch, even though there was plenty of fourth quarter scoring. Five of the six losses were by a touchdown or less, and turnovers led to the ten-point loss to Iowa.
Now there’s a lot of work to do.
The running game had to rely on statistical superstar Breece Hall to be automatic each and every time out. Now it’s up to junior Jirehl Brock to try being the next big great back – he ran for 174 yards last season – with a flew of slippery-quick backups in the mix.
The offensive line that led the Big 12 in tackles for loss allowed and pointed away for 175 rushing yards or more in seven of the last ten regular season games has to do some shuffling around All-Big 12 blocker Trevor Downing – he ended last year at guard but will likely work at center. The depth hast to be developed, but the line will be fine.
It was Brock Purdy’s passing game over the last four years, and now it’s Hunter Dekkers’ turn. A 6-3, 235-pound sophomore, he has been the main backup over the last two seasons and looked ready to roll this offseason.
The passing game is missing the amazing tight end tandem of Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen, but it gets back First Team All-Big 12 receiver Xavier Hutchinson. He caught 83 passes, but he needs to hit more deep shots. There’s enough overall experience – Jaylin Noel caught 38 passes – to spread it around, but Hutchinson is the first choice.
Overall, the offense should maintain the production, but …
Iowa State Cyclones Preview 2022: Defense
The defense has to undergo an overhaul. There are all-star parts to start with, but there’s a boatload of lost production from the ninth-best defense in the nation and No. 1 pass D in the Big 12.
Great defense is the norm now in Ames, but it’s still a problem to lose Mike Rose and Jake Hummel from the linebacking corps and safety Greg Eisworth. However …
Will McDonald is one of the nation’s best pass rushers. He’s a fixture on one side, and Isaiah Lee is a solid tackle to reform the defensive interior around. Blake Peterson was mainly a reserve, but he should be ready to roll on the other side of McDonald.
Yeah, Rose and Hummel were fantastic, but Gerry Vaughn is a 235-pound thumper who can work in the middle and make lots and lots of tackles, and O’Rien Vance is a reliable veteran on the outside who should be stronger after missing a chunk of last season.
The secondary isn’t a huge concern, but it’s almost certainly not going to be as productive after allowing just 188 passing yards per game.
Anthony Johnson is a versatile option who’ll move to safety after working at corner, but the transfer portal was a problem. Safety Isheem Young is off to Ole Miss and corner Datrone Young is taking off for Duke.