Iowa State Preview 2006
Posted Aug 1, 2006

Try as it might, Iowa State can't ... get ... over ... the hump.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

There's not a fantastic history of success at Iowa State until recent seasons, so it's hard to get too upset about falling just short of really, really big things year after year. However, even the most patient of Cyclone fans have to be getting a little grouchy after the way the last two years ended with chances to play for the Big 12 title going bye-bye in stunning losses in the final regular season games.

Sure, there have been five seven-plus win seasons in the last six and five bowl appearances since 2000, but has the program actually gotten a win of note against anyone other than Iowa?

Beating a dying Colorado late last year was nice, but you have to go back to 1993's win over Kansas State to find a
truly impressive Big 12 victory. The Cyclones have firmly established themselves as a solid, above-average program, and now it's time to come up with a few big wins to finally get to the championship game and turn the corner in the McCarney era. They'll get plenty of chances this season playing nine teams that went to bowls. More on that in a moment.

Head coach: Dan McCarney
12th year: 5-77
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 15, Def. 12, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 21
Ten Best Cyclone Players
1. WR Todd Blythe, Jr.
2. CB DeAndre Jackson, Sr.
3. DT Brent Curvey, Sr.
4. C Scott Stephenson, Sr.
5. QB Bret Meyer, Jr.
6. RB Stevie Hicks, Sr.
7. DE Shawn Moorehead, Sr.
8. FB Ryan Kock, Sr.
9. WR Austin Flynn, Sr.
10. OT Aaron Brant, Sr.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 Toledo
9/9 UNLV
9/16 at Iowa
9/23 at Texas
9/30 Northern Iowa
10/7 Nebraska
10/14 at Oklahoma
10/21 Texas Tech
10/28 at Kansas State
11/4 Kansas
11/11 at Colorado
11/18 Missouri

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 6-5
2005 Record: 7-5

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 Illinois State W 32-21
9/10 Iowa W 23-3
9/24 at Army W 28-21
10/1 at Nebraska L 27-20 2OT
10/8 Baylor L 23-13
10/15 at Missouri L 27-24 OT
10/22 Oklahoma St W 37-10
10/29 at Texas A&M W 42-14
11/5 Kansas State W 45-17
11/12 Colorado W 30-16
11/19 at Kansas L 24-21 OT
12/31 Houston Bowl
TCU L 27-24

There's no reason to not be considered one of the favorites for the North title with ten starters returning to an offense that became one-dimensional last season thanks to injuries in the backfield. On the plus side, the lack of a ground game might have been a good thing for the development of QB Bret Meyer since he had to carry more of the offensive load and grow into more of a leader. He has the talent around him to be even better and even more productive against the better defenses.

The defense loses a ton of top starters off the secondary and the defensive line, but the run defense should once again be among the league's best led by Brent Curvey at tackle and DeAndre Jackson at corner. If you can stop the run, you can be a player in the Big 12 race. Iowa State can stop the run.

This should be a fun team that makes several big plays on both sides of the ball and has the makeup to annoy the heck out of top ten-caliber teams like Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma. But can it avoid the slip like last year's 23-13 home loss to Baylor? And most importantly, can there be a win over Missouri in the season finale if it turns out to be the game for the Big 12 North title? 

At the very least, Iowa State has been in the race over the last few seasons after the 2-10 disaster of 2003. One of these days, all the breaks will go the right way and McCarney's team will be on the big stage. This season's crew just might be good enough to make its own breaks and get the job done, but it'll have to deal with ...

The Schedule: It's better than it might appear considering all of the bowl teams from last year on the slate. There are some rough road games at Iowa, Oklahoma and Texas, but there's a wonderful Northern Iowa oasis between the trip to Austin and the North showdown against Nebraska. There aren't two road games in a row after the Texas game in mid-September with five of the final eight games at home.

Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Todd Blythe. He's not the most consistent receiver around, but the 6-5 speedster is one of the Big 12's most dangerous weapons with 90 catches for 1,833 yards and 18 touchdowns over his first two seasons. Forget about stopping him in the red zone unless you have a tall defensive back who can jump out of the stadium.

Best Defensive Player: Senior CB DeAndre Jackson. He deserves preseason All-America honors and should be one of the league's best all-around defenders. He hits like a safety and is a huge playmaker, but his real asset will be his experience and leadership as the only returning starter to a shaky secondary.

Key player to a successful season: Senior OT Scott Fisher. Aaron Brant is getting better on the right side, so it'll be up to the massive Fisher on the left side to grow into a better pass blocker. The Cyclones gave up 39 sacks last year and struggled a little too much in the running game. The emergence of Fisher will go a long way to emergence of the attack.

The season will be a success if ... the Cyclones win the Big 12 North. After the last few seasons and with ten returning starters on offense, anything less than a 13th game and then a bowl appearance will be a tremendous disappointment.

Key game: November 7th vs. Nebraska. Iowa State might be good, but it'll take a major upset to beat Texas in Austin and Oklahoma in Norman. A loss to Nebraska will likely mean an 0-3 Big 12 start with a battle with Texas Tech ahead. Considering the Cyclone secondary will be a concern early on, everything else had better be working or Zac Taylor and the Huskers will put up huge numbers.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: Opponents 94 for 787 yards - Iowa State 64 for 567 yards
- Sacks: Opponents 39 for 243 yards - Iowa State 27 for 182 yards
- Average yards per carry: Opponents 3.0 - Iowa State 2.7

Last Time Iowa State…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Houston Bowl vs. TCU)
…missed a bowl game…2003
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Northern Iowa)
…was shutout…2003 (Kansas State)
…scored 50 points…2002 (Tennessee Tech)
…went undefeated…never
…won a conference title…1912 (share, Missouri Valley)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Seneca Wallace)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Stevie Hicks)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Todd Blythe)
…had a first-round draft choice…1973 (RB George Amundson)

Related Stories
Iowa State Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 1, 2006
Iowa State Preview 2006 Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 1, 2006
Iowa State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 1, 2006

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