Notebook: Iowa State hopes to channel past midseason successes

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell hears questions from the media during his opening press conference at Iowa State’s media day Aug. 1, 2019.

Zane Douglas

The Cyclones ran into trouble in their first away game of the season this past weekend, but they are coming back home to face Texas Christian University (TCU) on Saturday. 

Injury Update

Iowa State has dealt with a few nagging injuries over the course of the season. Starting center Colin Newell hasn’t seen the field since the Northern Iowa game all the way back on Aug. 31.

Newell’s leg injury is healing, but Campbell still called him questionable.

It remains to be seen what the Cyclones will do with the offensive line once Newell makes his return because Collin Olson, who shifted from left guard to center in the wake of Newell’s injury, has received glowing reviews from the coaching staff, and standout freshman Trevor Downing has performed well since taking over at the vacant spot left behind by Olson.

Coach Matt Campbell said that Tarique Milton and Kene Nwangwu are back to 100%.

On the other side of the ball, Campbell is not so optimistic about JaQuan Bailey.

Bailey injured his lower leg against Baylor, and in the Tuesday press conference, Campbell listed him as “questionable to doubtful.”

Peterson and McDonald ready for the call

With Bailey possibly out with an injury, sophomore Zach Petersen and freshman Will McDonald will see an increase in playing time against TCU.

Petersen has played well already this season as he’s seen a lot of snaps in the Cyclones’ 3-3-5 defense, so his impact has already been felt on the line.

“He’s played the best of all of our defensive linemen up to this day anyway,” Campbell said.

McDonald is a different story.

McDonald started the year at the outside linebacker position. He moved there because he profiles well as a rush end, and since the Cyclones usually only rush three linemen, he would work well as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

The Cyclones saw fit to move him there, but because they like to have five defensive backs, McDonald didn’t see much playing time.

The Cyclones are shifting him back inside now, and with Bailey possibly missing time, it could be an opportunity for McDonald to play meaningful snaps.

“Will’s got ability that we got to continue to find ways to get on the football field,” Campbell said.

October shows promise

October is here, which means it’s time for the Cyclones to shake off a slow start and smash through the competition.

Well, at least that’s what they did the last two seasons.

Campbell’s tenure with the Cyclones has come with perennial slow starts, and after those have come torrid streaks where they gain national attention.

Since Iowa State is playing lower-level Big 12 teams in October, there is a chance that this trend continues.

“I think that’s a common trend for us,” Campbell said. “You see our team continue to get better as the season goes.”

What’s next

Iowa State plays against TCU at 11 a.m. Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.