Consider the Iowa State football team a lucky group. After North Dakota State took down Kansas State, their fourth straight FBS opponent last Thursday, the Cyclones are up next in 2014.
Iowa State opens up with the Bison on August 30th, 2014. It’s unknown who North Dakota State will take on for an FBS opponent in 2015 according to their athletic website, but the Iowa Hawkeyes have them listed as a week three opponent in 2016.
Two things will benefit the Cyclones when they begin thinking about the 2014 season — thoughts that may come quickly if they can’t turn things around against the Hawkeyes in 1.5 weeks.
First, there will be a lot of turnover for North Dakota State. All three of the teams’ biggest weapons on Friday night — quarterback Brock Jensen, running back Sam Ojuri, and wide receiver Ryan Smith — are all seniors.
Jensen was fantastic completing 21-30 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Ojuri dominated the running game, tripling the Wildcats’ run output with 127 yards on 10 carries.
Second, Iowa State could be bringing in their best recruiting class of all time. With turnover facing the Bison and a lot of stellar athletes coming, the game should favor the Cyclones highly on paper.
Watching North Dakota State’s victory on Thursday wasn’t just the players on the field. The Bison looked like one of the best coached teams in the entire nation, and their game-ending drive that ended with a touchdown and left under a minute left almost looked too predictable.
They knew what they were going to execute, and did it all night long making minimal mistakes — one turnover and one penalty. That’s something the new Iowa State players may commit more in a year from now.
It’s too early to speculate and get into matchups obviously, but just remember that the Bison are on the horizon. And the Cyclones don’t want to be an FBS team that loses to two straight lower-division opponents, despite how talented they are.