Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Iowa State vs. Louisiana-Monroe preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Brian Custer, Robert Smith)
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters), Sirius 135, XM 199, Tunein; Away: Warhawk Sports Properties (Nick White), KLIP 105.3FM, LA105.com
Opening Line: Iowa State -19
Fun Fact: Saturday’s game marks the second meeting between ULM and Iowa State. The Cyclones lead the all-time series 1-0. It marks the first meeting between the two programs since the 1980 season opener when Iowa State posted a 42-7 victory in Ames.
QB Caleb Evans
The senior quarterback has completed 42-of-63 throws (.667) for 424 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder ranks among the Sun Belt Conference leaders in passing yards (fourth at 212.0 yards per game), total offense (fourth at 239.0 ypg.) and passing efficiency (fifth with 135.7 rating). He had a huge game in the team’s near upset against Florida State, piling up 273 yards total offense and four touchdowns in ULM’s 45-44 overtime loss.
LB Chase Day
Day is a veteran, fifth-year senior linebacker who leads the team in tackles (20 total), tackles for loss (3 for 10 yards) and interceptions (2). To start the season he has produced interceptions in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Day was selected Louisiana Sports Writers Association Defensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row after eight tackles, two for loss and an interception which temporarily helped set up ULM to take the lead over Florida State in the second half.
QB Brock Purdy
The sophomore QB is seventh nationally in completions per game (27.0) and 16th in the nation in completion percentage (72.0 pct.). In his career, Purdy has completed over 70 percent of his passes in seven of 11 games played. Purdy has the best career completion pct. (67.8) in school history and has accounted for 24 of ISU’s last 40 TDs in its last 11 games with 19 passing and five rushing. He is the Iowa State offense right now.
LB Marcel Spears
The Preseason 1st-team All-Big 12 selection has 17 tackles and 1.5 sacks to start the season. He’s a team captain and with Iowa State looking to get its season on track, Spears having a big game as a leader on the defense would help give this team the big boost it needs to get on track before conference play starts.
The Warhawks have a great running back in Josh Johnson, who is fourth in the FBS, averaging 149 rushing yards per game in the early season. But Iowa State’s rushing defense remains one of the best in the Big 12. So that means veteran quarterback Caleb Evans needs to get it going in the passing game. He’s thrown for nearly 7,000 yards in his career with 40 touchdowns and he will have to get his weapons on the outside like Xavier Brown, Josh Pederson and Markis McCray (all have at least nine catches through two games), and move the offense against Iowa State’s secondary, which is strong, but is the weakest link on a very good defense.
The Cyclones need to start forcing turnovers and winning the turnover battle, something that’s been a staple of Matt Campbell’s team as it’s had success in recent years. However, the Cyclones are -3 in turnover margin this season, with three fumbles lost, which is second to last in the Big 12. But by those numbers, that also means Iowa State has yet to even force a turnover this season. The good news is Louisiana might be exactly the remedy as the Warhawks are -3 in turnover margin, with four fumbles and two interceptions in two games. The Cyclones need to take advantage of this sloppiness.
Iowa State 31, Louisiana-Monroe 13
The Cyclones need to take their frustrations out somewhere and the Warhawks are the perfect team to do it against. Sure, they have Florida State a run for their money, but I don’t see the Cyclones, coming off a really tough loss to Iowa, to have a hangover effect. The Cyclones beat Iowa in yards per pass (9.3 to 5.7) and in yards per run (4.8 to 3.0) and lost the game 18-17. Matt Campbell is going to get this team cleaned up and tuned up before conference play starts, while Louisiana-Monroe will be resting on its laurels after a near miss against Florida State two weeks ago.
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