2021 WRNL Digital Game Program III: Iowa State at UNLV

Time to get things back on track.


Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 2

Well, that escalated quickly.

By: Patrick Brown

This week’s slate of games highlights the season’s first Big 12 matchup, while pairing two old conference foes against each other. Of course, the question on everyone’s mind here, is can the Cyclones find any sort of rhythm in Sin City?

On to the show!

10. Kansas (1-1)

Well, at least some things got back to normal, this after a 49-22 loss to No. 17 Coastal Carolina.

This week: vs. Baylor (2-0)

9. West Virginia (1-1)

Shoutout to the Mountaineers, who pitched a 66-0 shutout against Long Island University (who?). This week’s matchup against unbeaten Virginia Tech should give us a much better idea of what to expect from the ‘Eers this season.

This week: vs. #15 Virginia Tech (2-0)

8. Baylor (2-0)

The Bears absolutely rolled Texas Southern 66-7, but the win, coupled with its 29-20 week one win over Texas State are not exactly quality wins. Up next, the lowly Jayhawks, who shouldn’t present much of a problem, either.

This week: at Kansas (1-1)

7. Texas Tech (2-0)

We can’t call it the most impressive win of the week, but Tech’s 28-22 win over Stephen F. Austin kept it unbeaten on the year, preserving spot number seven. There may be cause for concern in the secondary, however, after SFA quarterback Trae Self was 38-58 for 343 yards and one touchdown.

This week: vs. Florida International (1-1)

6. Texas (1-1)

Oof. One week after a fairly convincing win over Louisiana, the Longhorns went full horns-down and got blasted by Arkansas. The Razorbacks have been a solid program the past few years, but the 40-21 loss was still surprising. Fortunately for Texas, Rice is up next.

This week: vs. Rice (0-2)

5. Oklahoma State (2-0)

Much like Tech’s win, it wasn’t a pretty Saturday for the Cowboys, but they got the job done 28-23 over a winless Tulsa team. Both sides of the ball need to step up for this week’s meeting in Boise.

This week: at Boise State (1-1)

4. Kansas State (2-0)

Kansas State took care of business against Southern Illinois last week, and if the Wildcats hadn’t forgotten how to play defense in the second quarter, where they were outscored 23-7, the final score of 31-23 wouldn’t have been nearly as close. This week presents a big test, as unbeaten Nevada rolls into town.

This week: vs. Nevada (2-0)

3. TCU (2-0)

Huge jump for the Frogs this week, after one of the week’s better wins against a Power-five opponent. Last week’s 34-32 win was a slugfest, but TCU came out on top. The defense held when it needed to, stopping a game-tying two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. The Frogs have a week of rest before hosting SMU in week four.

This week: Idle

2. #14 Iowa State (1-1)

Has anyone seen the Cyclones’ offense? The defense was stout, yet again, but after two weeks there are some alarms going off with the team’s inability to get any consistent production. Yes, Iowa State lost to a top-10 team, so its reputation didn’t take too much of a hit just yet, but things need to turn around quickly for this to become the dream season fans envisioned.

This week: at UNLV (0-2)

1. #3 Oklahoma (2-0)

Here we are, in a familiar spot. After briefly dipping to No. 2 in the rankings, the Sooners have shown, yet again, why they are the team to beat in the Big 12. Last week’s 76-0 romp over Western Carolina didn’t show much other than Spencer Rattler’s Madden-like numbers (20-26, 243 yards, five touchdowns), but this week’s matchup against a former Big 12 rival should be entertaining. As of right now, the conference is Oklahoma’s to lose.

This week: vs. Nebraska (2-1)


Betting the Big 12: Week 3

Remember these when you’re in Vegas this weekend!

By: Austin Keeney

Well, all of our rooting interest last week was ruined by the outcome of the CyHawk game. Thankfully our wallets recovered a bit. 4-3 with an easy winner on Sunday to cap it off. This week this column becomes the real deal, with an untold number of Cyclones heading to Las Vegas. I’m locked in. Get your bet slips ready and take some cash home with you.

THE GAMES

Nebraska (2-1) at #3 Oklahoma (2-0)

Kickoff: 11:00am | TV: FOX | The Line: Oklahoma -22.5

This line seems too short. All the build up to this game has been about the past, because Nebraska is very much not good in the present. I don’t take much stock in their wins over Fordham and Buffalo. Never forget, Nebraska tried to get out of this game and got bullied into not cancelling it. I think Oklahoma wants to obliterate them, and I don’t see them letting off the gas. Sooners by 30.

Pick: Oklahoma -22.5

#15 Virginia Tech (2-0) at West Virginia (1-1)

Kickoff: 11:00am | TV: FS1 | The Line: West Virginia -2.5

What’s that you see? West Virginia is unranked and a favorite over a ranked team? That screams auto bet to me. West Virginia is winning this game. It’s my favorite trend. The unranked road team covers an absurd amount of the time. Play Country Roads because the Mountaineers are taking care of business.

Pick: West Virginia -2.5

Nevada (2-0) at Kansas State (2-0)

Kickoff: 1:00pm | TV: ESPN+ | The Line: Nevada -2.5

What a strange line. Nevada is pretty good. Kansas State is without Skylar Thompson. But I swear, K-State has a game like this every season where they are missing their best player but win anyway. I think everyone wants to jump on Nevada here as a great G5 team but Purple Kansas will win this game on pure weird Manhattan voodoo.

Pick: Kansas State +2.5

Baylor (2-0) at Kansas (1-1)

Kickoff: 2:30pm | TV: ESPN+ | The Line: Baylor -18

Kansas is 0-2 and 0-2 ATS. I would not be surprised if they keep this close, but we’re not putting money on Kansas until they prove worth it.

Pick: Baylor -18

Florida International (1-1) at Texas Tech (2-0)

Kickoff: 6:00pm | TV: ESPN+ | The Line: Texas Tech -20.5

Texas Tech looked really good against future conference foe Houston. Who knows about FIU? Three touchdowns is a lot, but this game feels like a set up for them to win convincingly.

Pick: Texas Tech -20.5

Rice (0-2) at Texas (1-1)

Kickoff: 7:00pm | TV: LHN | The Line: Texas -26.5

Texas is not back. They will never be back. They will get their teeth kicked in over and over in the SEC. It will be hilarious. Oh, but they’re beating Rice by 4 touchdowns. This is what they do. New QB looks good against a G5 squad.

Pick: Texas -26.5

Oklahoma State (2-0) at Boise State (1-1)

Kickoff: 8:00pm | TV: FS1 | The Line: Boise State -3.5

I’d love this line if it dropped to 3 points. Admittedly I’m going off the Smurf Turf and that’s about it. Oklahoma State hasn’t been great through 2 games so Boise covers at home.

Pick: Boise State -3.5

#14 Iowa State (1-1) at UNLV (0-2)

Kickoff: 9:30pm | TV: CBSSN | The Line: Iowa State -31.5

Prove me wrong. Show me some offense. Until that happens, we can’t expect to cover giant spreads.

Pick: UNLV +31.5

BEST BET FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY

USC -8 at Washington State

Few things are more reliable than the fired coach bounce. USC’s interim coach will have the boys fired up. The Trojans will respond well and win by at least 2 touchdowns here against an overmatched Wazzu squad.

NFL PICK OF THE WEEKEND

Vikings +4 at Cardinals

Let’s start here, I know Kirk Cousins is the Vikings’ QB. But there won’t be a better time to back him this season. The world will be watching Chargers/Cowboys. This game kicks off at 3:05 central when the early games are still finishing. And the Cardinals looked just a little bit too good last week, so let’s count on them to come back to Earth a bit.

PROP OF THE WEEK SPONSORED BY CYCLONES IN VEGAS

Breece Hall to have exactly 69 yards rushing vs UNLV?

Yes +5000

SEASON RECORD: 6-10 (-5.0 units)


Defensive & Offensive Players to Watch: Week 3

Cyclones Look to Right the Ship Against UNLV.

By: Dylan Coon

IOWA STATE

OFFENSE Part of me wants to go full chaos and say Sam Dekkers, but I’ll refrain from doing that. Instead I’m going to pick the Iowa State receiving corps, just as an entity. They’ve been severely lacking, and you can’t place all the blame on the QB. There were times where Purdy had a lot of time to throw the ball, or extended the play and just didn’t have anywhere to throw it.

Xavier Hutchinson is the only Cyclone with more than 100 receiving yards this season, and it’s still early, but someone else needs to step up. Whether it’s Tarique Milton (5 receptions for 59 yards), Darren Wilson (3 receptions for 62 yards), or Joe Scates(A whopping 2 receptions for 9 yards) someone needs to get open for our passing game to be worth anything.

DEFENSE Will McDonald should scare the daylights out of every living QB left on our schedule. He gets held damn near every play, and it simply does not matter. That guys gets to the QB, pressures him, pushes him, or sacks him on what feels like every other play. McDonald already has 2.5 sacks on the year and is closing in on the career mark that Ja’Quan Bailey set a year ago.

If Iowa’s O Line had a hard time containing Will, I don’t have high hopes for UNLV. I expect McDonald to have a big day Saturday.

UNLV

OFFENSE “You’re probably wondering how I ended up in this position” says Doug Brumfield. I have no idea how or why this happened, but what a photo by Christian Petersen here. Brumfield is the starting QB, for now, so we’re going to focus on him. It seems like passing is a last resort option for Brumfield, and his first read is to run. Iowa State has infamously struggled with mobile QB’s, but our defense against UNI gives me hope that we’ve cracked the code on how to contain a dual-threat QB.

Brumfield has only passed the ball 26 times in the first two games, and completed 11 of them for a less than stellar 42% completion rate. He is the team’s second leading rusher with 70 yards on the season. I think Iowa State should be able to stack the box, and dare Brumfield to throw it over the top and beat us through the air.

DEFENSE Jacoby Windmon leads UNLV in tackles and sacks. Windmon is a sure tackler, but can also make the big play. He was top 10 in the conference last year in both sacks and forced fumbles.

The defense as a unit, isn’t up to par with the defenses we’ve played over the past two weeks. They’ve allowed 35 points to both of the first teams they played. One of them, FCS west coast powerhouse, Eastern Washington beat UNLV 35-33 in a double OT season opener. Please, please, let us beat this team by 30+ points. ULM 2019, round 2, please.


WRNL Interrogates: Mountain West Connection

We chatted with Alex Wright about the Rebels.

I got ahold of Alex Wright, Editor-in-Chief for the UNLV Free Press and contributor for one of our sister SBNation sites, Mountain West Connection to chat about UNLV football. Thank you to Alex for answering our questions. So let’s dive right in!


1- Marcus Arroyo, now in year two, came in right away and signed one of the top recruiting classes in the mountain west. How dire was the roster beforehand and what does the current Rebels recruiting class look like and what is left to build on to get this team on the winning track.

Alex: UNLV has always had an issue with depth, in the previous regime under Tony Sanchez, and with coaches before him, there was always a significant drop off from the starters to the second string. So if there was an injury to any starter, that position or position group would be significantly worse. Arroyo has brought in very talented recruiting classes with a lot of three-star talent to try and help with any potential issues with depth. By getting a lot of three-stars, Arroyo and his staff will have depth and options at any position group.

The problems in the UNLV football program do not start with Arroyo, there have been problems going back many different head coaches and athletic directors, all of them have failed at making UNLV football a consistent winner. Arroyo could be that guy, even though he is off to a 0-8 start, but it will take some time to dig out of the big hole that the UNLV football program is in. With Allegiant Stadium, the new Fertitta Football Complex, and Las Vegas growing as a sports destination, the opportunity is there for UNLV football to be a successful program, but a lot needs to go right to help a program that has only been to four bowl games in over 40 years of being a Division I program.

2- Who is the star on the Rebels team that Iowa State fans may not know yet, but will by the end of Saturday night?

Alex: Kyle Williams. He is the reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year after hauling in 35 catches for 426 yards, with two touchdowns in only six games last season. Williams is the focal point of the passing game, and he is the missing link that the Rebels have been lacking in the passing game. It’s been a while since UNLV has had a marquee receiver, and Williams will be that for them in the future.

This season, he has eight catches for 114 yards, he would likely have more if there was some stability at the quarterback position. And that will be the key for Williams if he is to reach his full-potential. It looks like he is developing great chemistry with Doug Brumfield, who was injured in UNLV’s loss last Saturday to Arizona State. Cyclone fans should expect to see Williams all over the field Saturday night, making big plays and being targeted by whoever is under center for the Rebels.

3-What is the biggest strength of this UNLV team?

Alex: I really love the receiving core for the Rebels. I mentioned Williams, with his success last season and the potential he has for the future, but there are also a lot of young, talented players on the roster. Zyell Griffin had moments last year as a freshman, and there are veterans like Steve Jenkins and Tyleek Collins, who have been in the program for a while and played key roles for the Rebels on offense in the past.

Arroyo has also added some talented players through the recent recruiting class, like Jordan Jakes, a transfer from Indiana, and talented tight ends like Shaun Grayson and Brye Lighon. Anchoring the tight end position is Giovanni Fauolo, who so many UNLV quarterbacks have relied on for the past few years. What is hard for this receiver and tight end group is finding consistency at the quarterback position. If UNLV could find the right quarterback to throw to those receivers, they could be the best unit in the Mountain West.

4- What is the biggest weakness of this UNLV team?

Alex: A team that has now won a game in over 650 days has a lot of weaknesses. I could talk about a lot of different things as to why the Rebels are struggling this year. I will start off with quarterback play, which plagued them last year. Brumfield showed he should be the starter moving forward, but it was a pretty low bar to clear after the performance Justin Rogers made in the first game. It is unclear if Brumfield will play against Iowa State, but if he cannot, the Rebels could be limited at quarterback and will struggle mightily.

On defense, the Rebels have struggled to put together a full game. We saw them get gassed late in the third quarter and fourth quarter against Eastern Washington and Arizona State. Some of that has to do with the Rebels’ struggle on offense and going on a lot of three and outs. There are also still a lot of young players on UNLV’s defense, so Iowa State could go vertical on UNLV and try to get their defenders tired. Also, the offensive line looked overpowered against Eastern Washington, so if the Iowa State defense can overwork the Rebel offensive line, that could be key in stopping Charles Williams and the UNLV ground attack.

5- We saw Iowa State open up as roughly a 30 point favorite in this game. Given Iowa State’s offensive struggles, do you think that line is justified?

Alex: I do think that line is justified, I think that has more to do with how much UNLV is struggling compared to where Iowa State is. The Cyclones did struggle in their opening week win against Northern Iowa and are coming off a tough loss to in-state rival Iowa, so I believe Iowa State will have some frustration they need to take out on UNLV.

The Rebels gave up 38 points, in double-overtime, to an FCS team, and then gave up 37 points to Arizona State, 24 of which came in a four drive stretch. UNLV gave up a lot of points last year, and could probably give up a lot of points Saturday night if they don’t play their best and Iowa State comes out firing, then the Cyclones could cover the 30 point plus spread.

6- Biggest thing UNLV will look to stop on Saturday?

Alex: The focus for UNLV Saturday night is to create havoc in the backfield and get pressure on Brock Purdy. Throughout spring and fall camp, the Rebel defense has worked on applying pressure on the quarterback. There were brief moments in 2020 where Jacoby Windmon and Adam Plant Jr., got to the quarterback and generated some negative plays.

It didn’t happen much against Arizona State, but against Eastern Washington, Windmong was flying all over the field, getting sacks, hits, and breaking up passes. He, Plant Jr., and the rest of the UNLV front seven will need to be active to try and get Purdy off his rhythm. The Rebels have forced four turnovers this season and will look to create some more against Iowa State to give their offense more opportunities to score.

7- What’s it like to have a pretty damn cool stadium, even if you have to share it with an NFL team?

Alex: I cannot express how great it is to be playing inside Allegiant Stadium. UNLV’s old home, Sam Boyd Stadium, was going downhill. It was a far drive from campus and it was just getting rundown. All the seats were metal benches and inside it was a depressing vibe with the gray concrete being a dominant force. The UNLV football program was deserving of an upgrade, and they got one with Allegiant Stadium.

Even though UNLV football has struggled, everytime I drive to Allegiant and enter, it just feels like a big game. This is what a football stadium should look like and it’s a venue that can help make Las Vegas the sports capital of the world. Everyone saw on Monday Night Football with the Raiders and Ravens, playing in front of a full Allegiant Stadium for the first time in an NFL regular season game, how Las Vegas does sports.

I will admit, I am still a bit mad at the Raiders for making the taxpayers pay over $750 million in public money for the stadium. And inconveniencing UNLV football at times, because in the original 2020 schedule, UNLV was going to have to play a game at Sam Boyd Stadium because of something written in the contract between UNLV and the Raiders. And this year, the Rebels will have a game kickoff at 8:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. local time, on weeknights, so the Raiders have enough time to get their field ready for their game that week also.

However, the positives of this stadium outweigh any negatives and gripes I have about the stadium. It is super cool to have an NFL stadium in a city that was vilified by the NFL because of gambling. I cannot wait to see what more events come to Las Vegas because of the stadium and hopefully UNLV football will fill it up someday too.


2021 Game III: #14 Iowa State vs. UNLV Football Preview

The Cyclones need to find their stride in this one.

By: Matthias Schwartzkopf

2021 Game III: #14 Iowa State (1-1, 0-0) vs. UNLV (0-2, 0-0 Mountain West)

Date: Saturday, September 18th, 2021

Time: 9:30PM CST

Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV

Capacity: 65,000

Line: ISU (-30)

Television: CBS Sports Network

Radio: Cyclone Radio Network

Game Notes/Release

UNLV Game Notes

SB Nation Website - Mountain West Connection

When we last left off....

Saturday was just one of those terrible, no good, very bad days. Especially when ESPN basically starts the day out by trolling the crap out of Iowa State with Ashton Kutcher as guest picker. Still a little salty about that one. I digress though.

Iowa State’s offense on the other hand? It basically stayed back at the team hotel and left the defense out to try and save the day. Iowa State turned the ball over four times, with one of those being a fumble returned for a touchdown. From there, they never really could get on track. Ultimately falling to Iowa 27-17.

UNLV Tidbits

“Please remember, UNLV (acronym on all references, please) is home to the REBEL football team — not the Runnin’ Rebels! Only the men’s basketball team at UNLV is nicknamed the Runnin’ Rebels” per the UNLV athletic website. Seems like that could be something fun to toss out in a chant on Saturday night.

The Rebels are already on their second starting quarterback and their second-year head coach, Marcus Arroyo has his hands full. The Rebels have not won a game since he became head coach following the 2019 season, and things have not gotten off to a great start in 2021.

UNLV fell to Eastern Washington to start the season at home in double overtime. Then traveled to Tempe, Arizona to take on Arizona State, only to see the Sun Devils score the final 23 points and pull away in the second half.

The Series

Iowa State leads 4-1 in a series that dates back to 1995. UNLV won the last matchup in 2008, 34-31 in overtime. Iowa State is the 10th highest-ranked team to take on UNLV in Las Vegas and the highest-ranked opponent to visit since 13th-ranked UCLA in 2015.

Iowa State Offense

The Cyclone offense has been on the struggle bus to start off the 2020 campaign. While the Cyclone offense has started off slow before, many thought this season would be different, but the feeling so far has felt all too familiar.

Through the first two games of the season, Iowa State has averaged 17 points per game, which is the 99th best mark in the NCAA. A season ago this group of Cyclones average over 32 points a game. The rushing attack is averaging 3.7 yards per rush which is 89th best in the country. Last season, Iowa State averaged fewer than four yards per rush in only two games and averaged fewer than 5.6 yards per play twice.

Against Iowa, the Cyclones ran the ball 27 times and for 87 yards, for an average of 3.2 yards per carry. When the game was over, Iowa State ran 70 plays for a total of 339 yards. Which sits near 90th ranked mark in the NCAA. Not good enough, and the Cyclones know it. How do the Cyclones break out of their offensive woes? Take charge and get aggressive.

First Key to Victory - Play With Aggression

Iowa State has knocked itself out of an offensive funk before. However, Iowa State’s lack of aggression on offense continues to be a big problem and will make breaking out of the funk more difficult unless playcalling makes a noticeable shift. It’s time to start hitting chunk plays early and often.

The longest play of the season is the 49-yard pass to Darren Wilson towards the end of the half against Iowa last weekend, which ultimately led to a score. That’s not a terrible number by itself, but the fact that it nearly stands alone (outside of a couple of catches by Xavier Hutchinson and Tarique Milton against UNI) is pretty disappointing. Against what is statistically one of the absolute worst teams in Division I college football

Let’s get it done.

UNLV Defense

Through two games this season the UNLV defense is allowing 36.0 PPG, which has them sitting 130th in the country. Since Marcus Arroyo took over the team last season, the Rebels have given up 38 points per game.

UNLV has allowed a total of 387 yards rushing (194 yards a game) and 4 touchdowns this season. Through the air, UNLV allows 274 yards a game which ranks 130th in the NCAA. They have also given up five passing touchdowns as well.

All this is in mind, UNLV just doesn’t get off the field defensively. They have been played 149 snaps defensively which is one the worst marks in the entire country. Something the Iowa State offense, when good likes to do to opposing defenses is keep them on the field for extended periods of time.

One intriguing player to keep an eye on for UNLV is Jacoby Windmon. The junior made the move from edge rusher to inside linebacker this season and is averaging 9 tackles so far to start the year and 1.5 total sacks to go along with it. Last season he recorded the most sacks by a UNLV player since 2013 with 5.

The Verdict - Iowa State

This is a perfect matchup for Iowa State to correct some of the offensive mistakes from the first two weeks. UNLV has some major holes on the defensive side of the ball and gives up too much defensively. Iowa State needs to take control and assert their will and put some points up and get some momentum on their side before Big 12 play.

Iowa State Defense

If anything is going right for the Cyclones right now it’s the defense. To start off the 2021 campaign Heacock and the boys have been lights out. Much like our writers after sips o’clock during mug night. Though the outcome of the game was not in favor of Iowa State on Saturday, if you have other areas that you need to figure out on your football team. The defense is always a good one to have in your back pocket as rock solid.

Through two games, Iowa State has allowed 2.7 yards per play which ranks second nationally. To pair with that, the Cyclones are only allowing 1.7 yards per rushing attempt. 23 yards total in the second half against Iowa. Just absolutely staggering numbers to start this season. Are they sustainable? Probably not but it shows us that this defense will be one of the best in the country all season long.

Will McDonald and the defensive line has been one of the many bright spots on this defense. To date McDonald has recorded 2.5 sacks, 20 on his career and only 5.5 sacks behind JaQuan Bailey for the all time sacks record at Iowa State. Zach Petersen is another player that has stood out on the defensive line. He won’t pick up that stat line that Will McDonald does, but he has generated some great pressure and has been playing with great technique to start the season. Keep an eye out on him as we progress through the year.

Second Key to Victory - Create Havoc

From what we can tell, this UNLV team doesn’t play well under normal circumstances. What will they do with an elite defense much like Iowa States? I want to see this defense make UNLV be as uncomfortable as possible and just create havoc all game long. I think that is more than doable on Saturday night.

UNLV Offense

Believe it or not, UNLV has scored more points than the Iowa State offense this season. No this is not an episode on Punk’d. Still slightly salty over the Ashton Kutcher guest picker appearance but we can get to that another day. The Rebels are averaging 21.5 points per game this season. Though, UNLV may have a quarterback issue.

Doug Brumfeld who led the Rebels on two scoring drives in Saturday’s game against Arizona State is considered day to day after sustaining an upper body injury. Brumfield was 6-14 passing for 60 yards to go with eight carries for 43 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. Justin Rodgers the starter in the opener would be the next man up if Brumfeld is unable to go. The Rebels also have Tate Martell on the roster who has practically been at every college in America.

Its not all bad for UNLV as they do have some intriguing young guys Arroyo’s first recruiting class already making a splash. Wide receiver Kyle Williams is the reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year after hauling in 35 catches for 426 yards, with two touchdowns in the six games last season. Look for Anthony Johnson to be matched up on Williams to stop any kind fo spark from happening.

The Verdict - Iowa State

UNLV is still trying to plug holes pretty much everywhere, but do have some studs that are young that will make this Rebels offense interesting in the future. While that is intriguing for UNLV fans, this Iowa State defense on Saturday is going to overwhelm them all night. Heacock and the boys are absolutely dialed in right now and I don’t expect that to change against a team that hasn’t won a game in over 600 days.

Special Teams

The Iowa State special teams continues to be an issue. Granted, we finally got our kickoff out of bounds and we don’t have to worry about that every damn time. What we do have to clinch our butts for now is punts and punt returns. Corey Dunn so far through two games has show zero ability to consistently punt the ball and flip field position. Huge issue and I don’t think it’s even remotely correctable with him. May have to look at another guy there.

Punt returns!?!? What are we doing? We have no plan ever to return a punt and even when we stick three guys back to catch one, it still doesn’t get caught and gives the opposing team 30 yards of flipped field position. It’s time to figure this out. Iowa State has to do better here.

The Verdict- Even

The Cyclones probably have the better players on their special teams unit. But, like I said last week, until Iowa State can put a full game together of flawless special teams, I absolutely will not give them the edge here. I would rather give Mark Mangino a carrot than give Iowa State the edge in special teams. The odds are better there.

Winning Scale from 1 to 10

“Sitting there, it is impossible to change your luck. But, you can always change the machine you are at!” ― James Hauenstein.

Iowa State is changing the machine they’re at and heading to Vegas for a week. Cyclones are about to hit the jackpot in this one.

Final Analysis

UNLV is trying to build their program from basically the ground up and it is going to take some time. Iowa State on the other hand has bigger asperations than just building something for the future. There’s a Big 12 Championship to be had and they need to find their way offensively this week before heading to Baylor to start conference play. I think the Cyclones do just that and finally find some rhythm.

Third Key to Victory - Dominate

If you are headed to Vegas have a wonderful time and turn that death star into Jack Trice West. If you’re staying at home, find a few beers or coffees and let’s get this win.

Final Score

Iowa State - 41

UNLV- 10

Give us your thoughts and predictions below!