NOTEBOOK: Matt Campbell speaks on AP Poll, West Virginia loss, Oklahoma State, injuries

Iowa State’s David Montgomery breaks from a tackle by Iowa’s Bo Bower during the annual CyHawk football game Sept. 9, 2017. The Cyclones fell to the Hawkeyes 44-41 in one overtime.

Brian Mozey

Iowa State football dropped a close one last Saturday at West Virginia with a 20-16 final score. On Monday, coach Matt Campbell addressed the media at his weekly press conference about the last home game for the Cyclones this Saturday against Oklahoma State.

Iowa State dropped to No. 24 in AP Top 25 poll

After losing to West Virginia on Saturday, Iowa State wasn’t sure the status of its placement in the top 25. On Sunday, the AP Top 25 poll came out with its latest edition and it had Iowa State placed at No. 24, one spot above No. 25 Iowa who upset Ohio State last week.

This is the third straight week the Cyclones have been ranked in the top 25. On Oct. 22, Iowa State started at No. 24, then after the TCU win, it went up to No. 14 on Oct. 29. Now, Iowa State is back down to No. 24.

Campbell isn’t worried about the rankings, but rather reaching the team’s goals of winning a Big 12 Championship and winning a bowl game in December or January.

Iowa State preparing after a loss

Iowa State hasn’t seen a loss on its schedule since Sept. 28 when Texas came to Jack Trice Stadium and won a 17-7 game.

Ever since then, the Cyclones have been riding a four-game win streak in the month of October. It was 36 days since the Cardinal and Gold had lost a game, but Campbell isn’t worried about the team’s focus this week after the loss to West Virginia.

“That’s the thing I love about these kids is you don’t even, win, lose, scoreboard, what it says, what it doesn’t say, I think [it’s] really irrelevant,” Campbell said. “If you keep playing and you keep fighting and you understand what’s not going well, how do you fix it and fix it, that’s college football.”

He said he’s been happy with how practice has gone this week and how the team has responded from the loss, but it’s not easy task ahead with No. 12 Oklahoma State coming into town.

Preparing for Oklahoma State

Campbell described TCU as having “elite speed,” but he said today that Oklahoma State has “elite size.” He said the Cowboys’ offense and defense has a bigger presence and more physicality, and Iowa State needs to prepare itself for a battle on Saturday.

He also mentioned that Oklahoma State’s quarterback Mason Rudolph is an “elite quarterback” and Rudolph has many weapons to go to with his offense. The Iowa State defense needs to be ready for anything and everything on Saturday because it’s not only going to be physical, it’s going to be a mental game too.

“That’s a lot easier said than done,” Campbell said on stopping Rudolph. “His ability to not only throw it, but I think some of his best plays has been his ability to pull the ball down and run sometimes, which is really really impressive to me.”

Along with the upcoming game, Campbell was asked about Oklahoma State’s head coach Mike Gundy and his select style of hair. Gundy wears a mullet and Campbell has definitely taken notice of it.

“I think only coach Gundy has the hair follicles to pull that off,” Campbell said jokingly. “It looks great. I’m jealous.”


Campbell said he’s fortunate to be three games away from the end of the regular season and not have that many big injuries on his team.

The biggest one so far for Iowa State is redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Bryce Meeker. He was helped off the field after injuring his knee against TCU on Oct. 28. Last Monday, Campbell said he wouldn’t play against West Virginia, but was fortunate that it wasn’t an ACL tear.

That status didn’t change this week as Campbell had no updates on Meeker and the team training staff is monitoring him. The only thing Campbell said was that he’s not out the rest of the year, so there might be a possibility of him returning in the next couple of weeks.

As for the status of this weekend against Oklahoma State, Meeker’s status is unknown.

The newest injury for the Cyclones is sophomore offensive lineman Josh Knipfel, who injured his ankle last weekend against West Virginia. He returned to the game after seeking treatment, but Campbell said he’ll know more information in the next day or two once the training staff looks at him.

Knipfel did move around in practice yesterday, but his status for Saturday is unknown. There will be more information on him on Wednesday when Campbell addresses the media again.

Finally, it’s not an injury, but Campbell spoke about keeping redshirt senior linebacker Joel Lanning healthy with all his positions.

“The kid’s played over 700 snaps of football. That’s unheard of,” Campbell said. “A lot of ice baths. We have to continue to be smart and let him do what he can do to the best of his ability. We’re going to need him.”