Big 12 News

Matt Campbell ‘Really Excited’ About His Team Entering 2024 Season

LAS VEGAS — Even though the record was 7-6, Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell believes his team made tremendous progress toward contending this year.

The Cyclones alternated wins and losses in their final six games, including the bowl game loss to Memphis. But those league losses to both Kansas and Texas included opportunities to win.


It leads Campbell to believe that the Cyclones are much closer to contending in this new-look Big 12.

“Watching our young team coming off a rough year in 2022 and the way our team responded last year it was really fun to watch,” Campbell said. “This football team came back to the standard of who we are and what we’ve been and what we have been is really special. So from that standpoint I’m really excited.”

Iowa State went 6-3 record in Big 12 action and Campbell is entering his ninth season in Ames, something he called an unbelievable ride.

The Cyclones have one of the most stable offenses in the conference, with nine returning starters led by quarterback Rocco Becht. He threw for 3,120 yards last season, with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Leading rusher Abu Sama II is back along with the entire offensive line.

“I think what you saw from the midpoint of the season on you saw him flourish,” Campbell said of Becht.

Defensively the Cyclones allowed 22.5 points per game last season and the unit has eight returning starters, led by safety Beau Freyler. He led ISU in tackles, had three interceptions and was All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Linebacker Caleb Bacon should move into the starting lineup and make the defense stronger.


The Cyclones open the season Aug. 31 at home against North Dakota. The Cyclones travel to Iowa in the annual Cy-Hawk game on Sept. 7, followed by a home game with Arkansas State on Sept. 21. ISU opens conference play at Houston on Sept. 28.

In October the Cyclones host Baylor on Oct. 5, travel to West Virginia on Oct. 12 and host UCF on Oct. 19.

ISU plays five games in November, starting with back-to-back road games at Texas Tech (Nov. 2) and at Kansas (Nov. 9). A home game with Cincinnati follows on Nov. 16, and then a road trip to Utah on Nov. 23. The regular season ends at home on Nov. 30 against Kansas State.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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