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Iowa State Daily

Gridiron Staff Picks: UNI

Caden+Maston+at+the+Iowa+State+football+spring+game%2C+Jack+Trice+Stadium%2C+April+22.
Tyler Coe
Caden Maston at the Iowa State football spring game, Jack Trice Stadium, April 22.

Christian Royston, Sports Editor (0-0)

Iowa State 21, UNI 10

The Cyclones have a chance Saturday to start their season off on the right foot. Although the Cyclones have struggled during season openers in the past, they still find ways to win. That is almost more true when going up against Northern Iowa.

Any time the Cyclones take on the Panthers, there is no telling how the game will play out. UNI plays tough, which should make Saturday’s game interesting. The Cyclones also have to game plan around UNI quarterback Theo Day, who has had solid outings in his time with the Panthers. The Cyclones feel confident that they can put a lid on Day’s day, as the veteran defense is looking for another strong season.

There are questions surrounding the offensive side of the ball for Iowa State, but answers should come Saturday. No matter which quarterback starts, Rocco Becht or JJ Kohl, both should see the field throughout the day and have time to shine. The Cyclones have plenty of talent across the roster to deal with whatever UNI throws at them.

Logan Shanks, Assistant Sports Editor (0-0)

Iowa State 20, UNI 14

The one thing that has stayed consistent for the Cyclones over the past few seasons is their pesky defense that has kept them in games. With a huge question mark over how the offense will perform with new starters, the defense will have to step up now more than ever.

Iowa State’s offense will need to find success off good field positions in this matchup, something they were not able to do often last season. I believe that if the running backs, specifically Eli Sanders and Cartevious Norton, take pressure off of whoever ends up taking the snaps at quarterback, the Cyclones will be able to do just enough in their season opener. 

With a new offensive coordinator in Nate Scheelhaase, expect to see some different approaches on third downs and different spots of the field. If Scheelhaase lives up to the praise he’s received as an assistant, the Cyclones could find themselves turning some heads in this highly anticipated season opener. 

Pavle Markovic, Sports Reporter (0-0)

Iowa State 27, UNI 10

A brand new season dawns upon the Cyclones on Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium against the UNI Panthers. UNI is known to have kept games competitive in the previous matchups with Iowa State, but I do have the Cyclones starting off the season in the right direction by beating the Panthers by a score of 27-10.

This season will be an experimental one, given that not every position has a sure starter that will last a whole season, but the Cyclones should be able to get the job done in front of the home crowd Saturday. 

The defense, led by captains Beau Freyler and Gerry Vaughn, should be able to hold down the Panthers’ offense throughout the entire game. On the offensive side of the ball, I expect there to be some growing pains, but the Cyclones should get the job done with Rocco Becht and JJ Kohl, both of whom are still fresh to the collegiate scene. 

Andrew Harrington, Editor-in-chief

Iowa State 31, UNI 13

As the reigning staff pick champion from the 2022 season, I figured I should make my return to staff picks to open the season. In honor of my great selections from the previous season, I have decided to keep things rolling with another correct pick.

One thing I have learned in my time at Iowa State is the best seasons come when least expected. Expectations have been high in recent years, and those expectations have not been reached. With expectations now much lower due to losing many key players, I think Iowa State will make a statement early.

Expect both Rocco Becht and JJ Kohl to play key snaps, and expect both of them to find the endzone. Iowa State is taking this one with ease.

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