By Michael O’Deay (@MODeay70)
Game 3: @ UNLV Kickoff: 9:30 PM Central TV Coverage: CBS Sports Network Radio Coverage: Cyclone Radio Network
Cy/Hawk Recap: In the first Top 10 game in Jack Trice history, Iowa State lost to Iowa 27-17. ISU couldn’t recover from three turnovers in the 3rd quarter. Prior to halftime ISU was trailing 14-3 when the Cyclones put together a nice 5 play 75 yard TD drive that was capped off with Breece Hall punching in a rushing TD for the 14th straight game. The Cyclone defense deserves a ton of credit. They held the Hawks under 200 yards of total offense. Iowa converted 4 Cyclone turnovers to 20 points. After Hall’s fumble was returned for a TD, Brock Purdy threw two interceptions, however the Cyclone D held Iowa to field goals. In the loss the Cyclones had more first downs and more total yards than the Hawks. As Bill Belichick would say, we’re on to UNLV.
Know your opponent: UNLV is 0-2. In their most recent game they lost to Arizona State 37-10. UNLV had a 10-7 2nd quarter lead, however, Arizona State scored the last 30 points. UNLV’s other loss was a 35-33 double OT loss to FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington. (I can joke because we beat UNI)
The Game: Iowa State heads out west to face UNLV for the first time since 2008. It will be the first game for ISU in the new Allegiant Stadium, which opened in 2020. The stadium is home to UNLV and the Las Vegas Raiders. Brock Purdy hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass this season. Expect that to change. Breece Hall hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in either game. Expect that to change. UNLV is giving up 36 points per game and 468 yards per game. The ISU defense on the other hand is only allowing 1.7 yards per rush. In two games ISU has only given up 112 rushing yards. That last stat should worry UNLV because they are a run heavy team. Their top RB is Charles Williams who has 212 yards on 41 carries and 2 TDs. UNLV’s second leading rusher is Sophomore QB Doug Brumfield. He has carried the ball 15 times for 70 yards with 2 TDs. Brumfield is listed as questionable for the game. If Brumfield can’t go the Rebels will be led by Junior QB Justin Rodgers. Rodgers has completed 8 of 16 passes for 30 yards. He’s rushed 9 times for negative 33 yards. I’m no mathematician, but that means Rodgers has contributed negative 3 yards to the Rebels season.
Keys to the game: 1) Less turnovers and more TDs. 2) Continue to dominate the line of scrimmage. 3) Put the foot on the gas and don’t let up.
I’m a very humble and optimistic Cyclone fan, however, I’m goping to be blunt in my assessment. Iowa State should dominate this game in every aspect. ISU faced two good defenses in the first two weeks. The offense is going to get going in a big way. I wouldn’t be surprised to once again see the key players on the bench in the 4th quarter. This week will be a lot more joyful. As for Purdy getting benched, I’m sure Coach Campbell did that for a motivational reason. With that said, watch out for Brock Purdy to put up huge numbers.
Prediction: Iowa State 45 UNLV 3
Series History: ISU leads the all time series vs UNLV 4-1. The teams last met in Las Vegas in 2008 with the Rebels winning 34-31. If you’re in Vegas and should hit a roulette table may I suggest 15, 23, 28 and always bet on cardinal. The casino will continue to mistake the color as a plain red.