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Know The Enemy: Iowa State Cyclones

We linked up with Wide Right & Natty Lite for the Cyclone perspective on Saturday’s TCU-ISU contest

Iowa v Iowa State
Coach Matt Campbell will be looking to Beau Freyler (17) & the Cyclone defensive backfield to slow the TCU offense
Photo by David K Purdy/Getty Images

The TCU Horned Frogs are looking to earn a win in Ames for the first time since 2015 and again return to Jack Trice Stadium as Iowa State will further honor the stadium namesake during Saturday’s game, 100 years after Trice’s death. With both squads entering the game sporting a 1-1 conference record coming off losses last week, this one will have an impact in determining the pecking order within the Big 12 standings. To better understand the Cyclones’ side of this match up we got with Matthias Schwartzkopf of Wide Right & Natty Lite for the inside look at what the Frogs will find in the match up with Iowa State on Saturday night

Frogs O’ War: The TCU defense has been beat up by pass-dominant offenses (Colorado) and running Quarterbacks (WVU); will Iowa State be able to take advantage of one of those weaknesses or find a new way to attack the Frogs?

Wide Right & Natty Lite: Iowa State has trended into a pass first team these recent weeks only because it had too. The run game was so abysmal they were forced to pass more and it has been decently successful. Only has translated to one win but certainly better than the alternative so I think we will see more passing to set up the run once again in this one.

FOW: The Cyclone offense currently ranks last in the Big 12 in scoring and yards per game. Do you attribute this to the challenging opponents faced so far in 2023, the personnel impact from the offseason turmoil, or a conscious philosophical coaching effort?

WRNL: I attribute it to the lack of being able to run the ball the first three weeks and the coaching slamming the run over and over again hoping it would bust open. You do that for three weeks and your averages are going to be way down forever. Don’t get me wrong the Iowa State offense is far from being a juggernaut since the minor philosophy change but it’s better the last two weeks than the stats would certainly indicate.

FOW: When the Horned Frogs have the ball, RB Emani Bailey is the Big 12’s 2nd-leading rusher and QB Chandler Morris is the league’s 2nd-leading passer, but ranks 120th nationally in red zone scoring. What will the Cyclones’ D do to stop this unit and who are the key players that will make the day difficult for the TCU Offense?

WRNL: Well hopefully the Cyclone defense finds its stride again. They have been on the struggle bus the last few weeks due to the lack of pressure put on the quarterback. So if we are going to stop Chandler Morris it has to start there. In terms of rush defense Iowa State has been solid there. No worries on that end. Beau Freyler one of our safeties is a guy to look at here. Big hitter in the run game and can cover all over the field in the pass game.

FOW: Between the various ISU NIL collective beverages, which would be the top choice? Or should Frogs fans traveling up for the game just grab an Ames Lager and an 1858 Vodka and a We Will cold brew for an elite gameday experience? For anyone visiting for the first time, what’s the top bar or restaurant recommendations near Jack Trice Stadium?

WRNL: Just grab them both and let the day take you where it may. Boulder Tap House on grand is a great place with tons of beers to hang out. Pretty good food as well, get the cheese curds. Brick City grill, Cornbread BBQ and new Sweet Caroline’s on Main Street would be some good choices. There are plenty more.

FOW: What do you see as the Cyclones’ best path to victory on Saturday and what’s your prediction for how the game will play out?

WRNL: Cyclones have to play better defense than the last two weeks all while continuing the strides they have made on offense. Easier said than done. This next 5 game stretch for Iowa State is critical and this happens to be the toughest one in that stretch in my eyes. So I don’t have the best feeling right now.

24-17 TCU wins

Big thanks to Matthias for taking the time to provide feedback on the Cyclones and the matchup with the Horned Frogs in Ames on Saturday. Make sure to follow the team at Wide Right & Natty Lite for all their coverage of Iowa State athletics and this weekend’s game. Follow them on Twitter: @WideRtNattyLt