I cannot wait for this game tomorrow to be honest! I want nothing more than to see the Cyclones become bowl eligible on Senior day! I think we have a good shot at winning this game, but with the way we've played the last couple of weeks, it's hard to know how the game will fare. I would caution ISU fans if they assume that this game is a penciled in win. Hawkins has his job on the line, and mathematically they could backdoor into bowl eligibility (although I don't see them getting past OSU next weekend).
If you're in Central Iowa, I would try to make this game. ISU is favored by 5 points, and it's not going to be on TV. Also, these Seniors have given a lot to this program. You have to remember that many of them have played under 2 or even 3 coaching staffs, and have played through some tough seasons. There's nothing more I'd like to see than seeing these guys get into a bowl, as a thank you for their commitment to Iowa State, and working hard in trying to get our program going again!
Either way, to keep this short, and also because I'm sure you've been reading up on Colorado all week long, I am going to list the key match-ups that ISU will have to win in order to win the game:
1. Colorado's Offensive Line vs. Iowa State's Defensive Line
Colorado's O-Line has allowed 8 sacks in each of the last two games. Iowa State's D-Line has arguably been the worst against the past, as we're last in the Big 12 in sacks. This seems like a good opportunity for the D-Line to step up and help our secondary.
2. Iowa State's Pass Offense vs. Colorado's Pass Defense
Colorado has the 65th ranked pass defense in the Nation, allowing about 229 yards/game. Believe it or not, this is actually a step up from Oklahoma State (who's ranked 96th). At the same time, 229 yards/game is enough for ISU. I actually think if ISU can pass for about 200 yards, and run for about 150 yards, we've got this. We don't need to have a pass heavy attack; we just need to complete timley passes, to pick up first downs and eventually TDs.
3. Special Teams
ISU needs to be as good if not better than Colorado on special teams. That means making easy field goals, punting the ball well, and avoiding the big play when on Special Teams Defense.
4. Have some heart
ISU has come out like zombies the past couple of weeks. Guys aren't fired up, and that passion/intensity we saw earlier in the gone was not evident. The coaching staff needs to figure out a way to get these guys motivated, and for them to believe that they can win these last two games.
Prediction: Pretty simple plan all along, but that's been the season. We have lost on the simple things, and have won on the simple things. I think ISU wins 27-24 and becomes bowl eligible. They regain some of the edge they had. The Seniors get all fired up playing their last home game as a Cyclone, and we all celebrate afterwards! Sound good? Go State!