Paul Rhoads and his Cyclones have upset four ranked teams in the past three years, but he may need a real miracle to pull one off this year. The Cyclones are picked to finish ninth in the media’s preseason poll, above the Kansas Jayhawks.
KU goes to Ames on November 23, which should be for the right to fight out of the conference cellar.
The Cyclones, like most of their conference mates, will be breaking in a new quarterback – sort of.
Sophomore Sam Richardson (6-2, 205) came off the bench late last year and engineered six touchdown drives to lead ISU to a 51-23 won over Kansas. He completed 23 of 27 passes for 250 yards and 4 TDs against the Jayhawks. A week later, he started against West Virginia and completed 13 of 31 passes for 162 yards and 3 TDs, but the Cyclones came up short of a victory. Richardson also ran 18 times for 119 yards in that game. Richardson missed the Liberty Bowl due to an illness.
Richardson will have four returnees on the line to protect him. Center Tom Farniok (6-4, 287, Jr.) leads the pack up front, which needs to replace only the left guard.
Senior tailback James White (5-8, 192) returns to lead the running game. He only had 505 yards on 99 carries and two scores.
ISU’s top three receivers last year have graduated, and they accounted for 41 percent of the receptions and 45 percent of the receiving yards in 2012. Tight end Ernest Brun (6-3, 251, Sr.) is the leader of the group. He pulled in 26 passes for 330 yards and 6 TDs last year.
Iowa State Statistics, 2012
Offense (Nat'l. Rank)
Defense (Nat'l. Rank
Total Yards (YPG)
The defense will be looking to replace three stars who were first team all-Big 12 selections in ’12. The linebacking duo of A.J. Klein and Jake Knott were the best in Cyclone history, and nose guard Jake McDonough joined them on the diploma route. This leaves only two returning starters on the Cyclones’ front seven.
Defensive end Willie Scott (6-2, 242, Sr.) was 10th on the team with 37 tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage, a year ago. Linebacker Jeremiah George (5-11, 219, Sr.) took over for Knott when the latter suffered a shoulder injury with four games remaining last year. George recorded 13 tackles against the Sooners in 2012.
I-State’s secondary gave up a mess of yards in the passing game last year (265.3 yards per game on average). Corner Jansen Watson (5-9, 174, Sr.) and free safety Jacques Washington (6-1, 220, Sr.) return. Washington led the team with 3 INTs in 2012 and placed second with 90 tackles. Watson added 41 stops and busted up seven passes.
Special teams is the brightest unit for the Cyclones. Both kickers return, including All-Big 12 punter Kirby Van Der Kamp (6-4, 211, Sr.). He hammered 77 punts last year for a 41-yard average. Edwin Arceo (5-9, 196, Sr.) in 2012 made 37 of 40 PATs and 12 of 18 FGs, with a long of 51 yards. He also will have kickoff duty.
Jarvis West (5-7, 174, Jr.) and Albert Gary (5-10, 203, Sr.) will again return kickoffs this year. They combined for 22.4 yards per return, but neither scored last year. West likely will also return punts this year.