Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Saturday, October 14; 12:00 p.m. ET; Nippert Stadium; Cincinnati, OH
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft, Ryan Harklau); Bearcats Sports Network (Dan Hoard, Jim Kelly Jr., Mo Egger)
Records: Iowa State (3-3); Cincinnati (2-3)
Last Week: Iowa State 27, TCU 14; Cincinnati had a bye week.
Rankings: Iowa State (NR); Cincinnati (NR)
Series History: 0-0
Last Meeting: N/A
Line: Cincinnati (-5)
Fun Fact: Despite being relatively close in proximity (600 miles), this will be the first-ever meeting between the Iowa State and Cincinnati football programs.
QB Rocco Becht
While his stats may not jump off the page to anyone, Rocco has been playing well as of late. He is a first-year starting quarterback so, of course, there will be some ups and downs, but so far, he looks like the future signal-caller for Iowa State. It seems like he is finally getting a little bit of help from his teammates to take some of the pressure off of him as well. Rocco has done a nice job of managing games and has been efficient. He makes good decisions and doesn’t turn the ball over.
LB Caleb Bacon
Is there anyone in college football with a better last name than this man? Bacon is an incredible name, and it is absolutely delicious to eat. All jokes aside, Caleb is an excellent linebacker for this defense. He is physical at the point of attack and leads the team in tackles for loss. I expect him to get plenty of opportunities on Saturday to make plays.
QB Emory Jones
Those who have read my work know that I have been a bit harsh on Emory Jones. He may be the best athlete on the field but as a quarterback, you have to make good decisions. So far this season, Emory has struggled with making the right decisions and has not been very accurate with the football in his hands. He has completed just 60% of his passes this season and that number will need to improve if this team is going to do anything special.
DL Dontay Corleone
He is called the Godfather for a good reason. When he is out on the field, he controls the game. Dontay is a great interior defensive lineman who has a knack for causing problems for opposing offensive linemen. He not only leads his team in sacks but tackles for loss as well. I have no doubt that he will play a big role in this game.
It’s all about the running game for the Cyclones. This applies to not only the offense but the defense as well. The Bearcats are going to test Iowa State on the ground and that is something that this defense normally thrives on stopping. As for the offense, they have had their best two rushing performances over the last two weeks. It seems like the offensive line is starting to improve and has opened some holes for these running backs. The biggest question I have is can they do it again this weekend?
I mentioned earlier that Emory Jones needs to get better as a passer and needs to make better decisions. The reason he needs to do that is because Iowa State has one of the best secondaries in college football. Along with that, this team needs to get better in the red zone on both sides of the ball. The offense has struggled to punch the ball in and the Bearcats have the second-worst red zone defense in the Big 12. They need to find a way to get the job done.
Prediction: Iowa State 24, Cincinnati 21
This is going to be a hard-fought game between these two. Both teams are going to have some trouble running the football and I expect a low-scoring game. To me, Iowa State is playing complementary football right now and I have more faith in their offense having success than Cincinnati’s. Plus, their defense is better too. I know that the Bearcats are the favorite but give me the Cyclones.