Big 12 Previews

Iowa State vs Northern Iowa: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: UL Lafayette at Iowa State

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming game in our Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa preview and prediction.

Game Info

When: Saturday September 4th, 2021, at 3:30 p.m. central time

Where: Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa


Radio: Cyclones Radio Network (John Walters)

Spread: N/A

Fun Fact: Iowa State is 2-3 in season openers under Matt Campbell


Key Players

Northern Iowa

Quarterback Theo Day or Will McElvain

There is still an ongoing battle between the two but no matter who is named the starter for week one, they will have their work cut out for them. Iowa State has a tremendous defense and if Northern Iowa is to make a game out of this, then whoever is the quarterback better take care of the football and have the game of their life.

LB Spencer Cuvelier

Spencer was the team leader in tackles during the spring by a good margin. If he truly is the Panthers leader on defense, he will have to be everywhere on Saturday because he will not see an offense as good as this one all year long.

Iowa State

RB Breece Hall

The nation’s leading rusher from a year ago is ready to get back to work come Saturday. Breece had a season to remember in 2020 and he certainly wants to continue to build upon that. He may not be the flashiest running back in the country but when the football in his hands, good things happen for Iowa State. He should be in for a big day against Northern Iowa.

DL Will McDonald IV

Now in a full-time starting role, I can’t wait to see what this man can do. He was the Big 12 sack leader a season ago and now with more opportunities ahead, can he take another step forward this season? He is my preseason Big 12 defensive player of the year so getting off to a strong start will be key for him.


General Thoughts

There are no excuses this year. This must be the year where the Cyclones get off to a strong start by taking care of business in the non-conference. This was a close game two years ago, but this is not the same Iowa State team from 2019. Brock Purdy is back along with Breece Hall and don’t forget about Charlie Kolar or Xaiver Hutchinson catching the football. Plus, this should be the best offensive line in the Matt Campbell era. The pieces are all in place on offense so there should be no reason the Cyclones can’t put up at least 35 on the scoreboard on Saturday.

Defensively, there should not be any issues whatsoever. They are far more talented than Northern Iowa and the Panther offense should not be much of a threat at all for this defense under Jon Heacock. The one thing I want to see from both sides of the ball is energy right away. No going to sleep or letting Northern Iowa in this game at all. Play a clean game and everything should take care of itself.

Prediction: Iowa State 38, Northern Iowa 10

Matt Campbell and the Cyclones won’t be messing around in this season opener and will roll to a very comfortable win to kick off the 2021 college football season.


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