The Iowa State Cyclones are riding a three-game win streak over the Texas Longhorns, dating back the narrow win in Ames in 2019. Much of what made up those teams have moved on, so the Cyclones are looking to recreate that magic and keep the streak alive, while snapping their three-game Big 12 losing streak in the process.
To help us understand the Cyclones, we reached out to Matthias Schwartzkopf of Wide Right and Natty Lite to help us break down the matchup.
Burnt Orange Nation: After a great start to the year, with two blowout wins bookending Matt Campbell’s first win over Iowa, the Cyclones are on a three-game losing streak to start conference play. What has been the difference between the first three games and the second three games?
Matthias Schwartzkopf, Wide Right and Naty Lite: It’s been the ability for the offense to score points and special teams issues. The offense is not operating at a high level and they are leaving a ton of plays on the field; frankly, the play-calling hasn’t been great either.
BON: Iowa State has to break in a new quarterback for the first time since 2019. At the halfway point of the year, what’s your read and impression of Hunter Dekkers?
WRNL: The first impression is obviously the arm talent that may not be used in the best way currently due to the playcalling but on the flip side he is a young QB that is developing and learning to play QB at a high level in college. The talent is there but he needs some more development and friendly play calls
BON: Wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson is far and away the production lead in the Iowa State passing game. What makes him such a reliable target for Dekkers?
WRNL: Trust and safety blanket. Hunter knows he will make the plays for him. He watched it from the bench for two years and has that relationship now as QB1 with him. While he is great we need the ball spread out a bit more.
BON: Jon Heacock’s defense has become one of the most-imitated schemes in all of college football, shutting down teams and helping create opportunities for linebackers to make plays. What makes this such a highly coveted scheme?
WRNL: It’s just plays that flow to the spots that are easiest to make tackles and everyone runs to the ball and makes the play. Everyone does their assignment and gets it done. Doesn’t matter if it’s a senior or a freshman. I know this is a basic answer but it comes down to that at the end of the day.
BON: What’s one storyline you’re watching on Saturday?
WRNL: The Iowa State offense. Can they get the ball in the end zone? I am not sure they currently have a lot of horses to run with Texas right now, but they need to make some strides.
BON: What’s your prediction?
WRNL: 24-9 Texas. The Texas offense is great with Ewers and probably gets the job done. I just don’t see enough changes from Iowa State offensively to even matter.