Iowa State Random Recall: Northern Iowa


Iowa State quarterback Joel Lanning looks to throw the ball during the game against Northern Iowa on Sept. 3, 2016. The Panthers would go on to defeat the Cyclones 25-20. 

James Powell

Editor’s note: Each week, the Iowa State Daily will look back on a notable matchup from the past between the Cyclones and whoever they are playing that particular week.

This week we look at the 2016 game between Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa in Ames, IA.

It was Matt Campbell’s inaugural season. The newly-hired head coach from Toledo, Ohio entered the job in Ames with the intent of turning around a program that hadn’t seen a bevy of success, having just one winning season in the prior 10 seasons leading up to the 2016 campaign.

But his first game on the job didn’t start like he wanted. Iowa State fell in Campbell’s game, the final score being 25-20 in favor of the Panthers.

Joel Lanning, Iowa State’s quarterback, was 18-28 for 256 yards, throwing three touchdowns and two interceptions. Mike Warren was Iowa State’s leading rusher, carrying the ball 12 times for a total of just 30 yards, at an average of 2.5 yards per carry.

Northern Iowa dominated the time of possession, with 35:56 worth of game time on offense. Iowa State’s four turnovers and 51 rushing yards were its two most startling statistics. The Panthers scored off a safety, as well as after their defense picked up an interception and a fumble against the Cyclones.

This wasn’t just the first game as a Cyclone for Campbell. The season-opener vs Northern Iowa in 2016 was the first career game for Kene Nwangwu, Jaquan Bailey, David Montgomery, Braxton Lewis, Marcel Spears, Deshaunte Jones and Hakeem Butler. 

Butler caught his first career reception as a Cyclone for a 18-yard touchdown.

With the Campbell era having so much promise that he eventually delivered, this was a hard game to swallow for the Cyclone faithful. Iowa State was outplayed in nearly every statistical aspect.

Northern Iowa had the edge over Iowa State in all of these statistics for the game:

  • Total yards: UNI (367), ISU (307)
  • Rushing Yards: UNI (256), ISU (51)
  • Turnovers: Northern Iowa (1), ISU (4)

Obviously, the Cyclones are standing on much higher ground now than when Campbell first started, coming into the 2021 season ranked seventh by the Associated Press.