This is a hard game to get fired up about, for obvious reasons. If Iowa State wins, big whoop. If they lose, it's a disaster. I've been doing through UNI's stats trying to find something interesting, but not a whole lot jumps out:
UNI's play selection has been a 60-40 split between pass and run with their offense. In terms of yards gained, it's 48-52%, a very balanced approach, typical of what we've seen from this team in the past.
UNI has a dual-threat QB, Rennie Tirrell. Tirrell is a JUCO transfer from Ellsworth Community College. On the year, he has rushed 34 times for 228 yards and 1 TD, and has completed 50% of his passes for 334 yards and 1 TD. The guy isn't Denard Robinson, but it's a guy who can apparently cause some fits.
UNI has allowed only 39 rushing yards in the two games they've played this season, while giving up 603 yards through the air. UNI has also recorded 13 sacks on the season thus far, although 11 of them were against North Dakota State. UNI has now jumped on the 3-4 defense bandwagon, and use their speed on the edge to put on pressure.
UNI has scored 36 points combined in the two games. Only scored 7 of those 36 points have come in the second half.
Per Chris Williams From CycloneFanatic.com, UNI's offensive line features all new starters. Also, the group has allowed 8 sacks on the season thus far.
Whatifsports.com has Iowa State winning in 95% of their simulations by an average score of 44 to 9. Jeff Sagarin's model has Iowa State winning by 9 points in this one. But forget that. I want to see Iowa State roll in this one.
At the end of the day, what does this all mean?
For Iowa State this is the game where they have to build some confidence and get it together. Our defensive line isn't very good, but facing a 1-AA O-Line with all new starters. Its the perfect opportunity to get some sacks, and hopefully contain the run.
Iowa State's offense isn't very good either. Actually its terrible. The Cyclones are 74th in the Nation in passing yards/game, are 78th in the nation in rushing yards/game, and are 95th in the nation in average yards/play. They face a secondary that has been giving up 300 yards through the air per game. If Iowa State is going to have a game where they can complete their passes through the air, it is going to be this one.
UNI is going to bring it for sure,but this isn't one of those UNI teams we've seen over the last several years. Lots of young guys, and it's clearly a rebuilding year for them. Fact is, Iowa State is facing a team that can't play for a full 60 minutes, and cannot complete drives, despite racking up the yards. As long as this Tirrell guy doesn't transform into Denard Robinson, I think Iowa State will be fine in this one. I'm going with Iowa State 34, UNI 17. If Iowa State struggles to move the ball, or to score points, I just don't see it getting turned around during the season. If you can't do it at home against a FCS team, you just can't expect to see it in the Big 12. Hopefully this one is a confidence builder as Iowa State gets into the meat of their schedule.