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Gridiron Staff Picks: Iowa State vs. Cincinnati

Daniel Jacobi II
Iowa State’s John Klosterman (42) is swarmed by his teammates after making a huge stop during the second half of the Jack Trice Legacy football game against Texas Christian University on Oct. 7, 2023, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa.

Christian Royston, Sports Editor (3-3)

Cincinnati 23, Iowa State 21

I really want to be optimistic about Iowa State’s matchup with Cincinnati, especially following the big win over TCU in the Jack Trice Legacy Game. 

The Cyclones looked good on both sides of the ball. The defense clutched up at times to keep TCU off the board, while the offense moved the ball well in the air and in the run game.

With all the momentum in Iowa State’s favor, Cincinnati looks like the perfect opponent to keep things rolling. The Bearcats have struggled so far through their first season of Big 12 play. 

Cincinnati started the season hot, dominating the offensive end of the ball in the first two games. However, since the home loss to Miami of Ohio, Cincinnati has not won a game in the Big 12.

Despite the three-game skid, I still think Cincinnati is posed to make a stand against the Cyclones. The Bearcats had time to reset over their bye week to figure out what was going wrong. 

The last two road games for the Cyclones have been disappointing to say the least.  Iowa State has not shown any sign of life on the road, which will prove deadly when going into Cincinnati territory, which is a tough place to play. With Cincinnati hungry for a Big 12 win, it could be a tight game that ends up favoring the home team.

Logan Shanks, Assistant Sports Editor (4-2)

Iowa State 24, Cincinnati 17

So far this season, the Cyclones have not fared well on the road and have failed to put together a complete game when not playing at Jack Trice Stadium. The Bearcats haven’t had much luck at home, and of their three straight losses, two of them have been at home against University Miami of Ohio and BYU. 

Iowa State proved in its matchup against TCU that they are capable of winning games on the ground, but its running back room will be challenged against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed barely over 100 yards this season. The Bearcat defense has allowed the second fewest yards per game in the Big 12 (328.4), so the Cyclones will have their hands full as they attempt to get things going on the road.

Despite its winless record in the Big 12, Cincinnati has been competitive offensively in all of its matchups and have averaged the third most yards in the conference (490). The Cyclone defense had a bounce-back performance against the Horned Frogs with their four interceptions and will need to carry their hunger for the ball into Ohio in order to pick up their first road win of the season.

I believe that the Cyclones will struggle offensively out of the gate, much like they did against TCU, but will ultimately keep their mid-season momentum going and pick up their third Big 12 win of the season. 

Pavle Markovic, Sports Reporter (5-1)

Iowa State 16, Cincinnati 9

The Cyclones will be looking to get their first win streak of the season going, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats for the first time in program history.

It will be a tall task for Iowa State to pull out a win considering its record on the road. The Cyclones’ last road-game victory would be from early on last season, when they went to Iowa City and defeated their in-state rival Iowa by a score of 10-7.

The Cyclones’ last actual road game they won outside of the state of Iowa was Oct. 16, 2021, when they defeated Kansas State on the road by a score of 33-20. 

Now they go into Bearcats territory, which is known as a tough environment to play in. Their fanbase will bring the passion to a sold out crowd Saturday. In this game, I do have Iowa State pulling out a one-possession win in a defensive battle.

The Cyclones’ defense is coming off of a much-needed rebound game in the win over TCU, as they forced the Horned Frogs offense to throw four interceptions while collecting two sacks.

The one main issue with the Cyclones to keep in mind is the tackling. It has not been the best to say the least, and they will need to get that fixed up quickly if they want to stop a Cincinnati offense that has many different options in the running game.

Isabel Monaco, Engagement Editor

Cincinnati 21, Iowa State 20

This game will be the first-ever battle between Cincinnati and Iowa State. The Bearcats are currently on a three-game losing streak, so finding their offensive rhythm early against the Cyclone defense will be important for them. 

The Bearcats have had a rough go of their Big 12 games this season, placing them 13th in the conference. Two of their last three losses have been against Big 12 opponents No. 5 Oklahoma and BYU. They are going into this game hungry for their first conference win.

The Cyclone defense will have to prepare for a strong passing game. Iowa State’s defense will need to be ready, especially considering Cincinnati quarterback, Emory Jones, averages 245 passing yards per game.

A big key for the Cyclone offense is getting Rocco Becht more comfortable in the pocket. It’s obvious that his feel for the game has sharpened over the past few weeks. The Cyclones will need to see him on top of his game if they want to come out with a win.

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