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2018 MAC Football Preview: Akron Zips at Iowa State Cyclones

A familiar face is up next for the Zips

Northern Illinois v Toledo Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images

The Akron Zips are in Ames to take on the Iowa State Cyclones, headed by former Toledo Rockets coach Matt Campbell. 9 Ohioans are on the Cyclones roster. Last season the Zips were handled 41-14 in InfoCision stadium, but there are reasons to think this game might be different.


Game Details

Who: Akron Zips at Iowa State Cylcones

What: A football game

When: Saturday, Sept. 22, Noon EST

Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa

Line: Iowa State -19 per Vegasinsider.com


Iowa State Wins IF

They can focus for this game. Last week, the Cyclones gave the 5th ranked Oklahoma Sooners everything they could handle before falling, 37-27. Up next are 17th ranked TCU, 15th ranked Oklahoma State, and 12th ranked West Virginia. The Cyclones first game was postponed, and then they dropped a game to arch-rival Iowa, 13-10. The real possibility of an 0-5 start could mess with the 20 year old mind.

Kyle Kempt, the starting QB, is currently out with an injury. The sophomore backup looked pretty good in the Oklahoma game, which is yet another distraction.

The Cyclones struggled most of last year scoring, and this year they have been 50/50. They looked good against Oklahoma, and looked terrible against Iowa. If they are not focused, or the sophomore QB is rattled, that could be bad news for the Cyclones. If they are clicking, they have the talent to put up points, and the defense has looked good. Sure Oklahoma scored, Oklahoma is going to score on a lot of people, though.


Akron Wins IF

They can stop the run and put pressure on sophomore quarterback Zeb Noland. Even though the Oklahoma game was huge, there really wasn’t a lot of pressure on Noland. In this game, there is the potential for immense pressure. If the potential of an 0-5 start is looming over the team, then this becomes a bit of a must win game. The Cyclones haven’t been able to run the football this season. That could be opponents, but Akron done a great job against the run, too. If this game stays close early, then the pressure could mount for the entire Cyclones team. Kato Nelson, Van Edwards, and company have been putting up some decent numbers this season. If they start to mount some drives and put Iowa State behind the 8 ball, this could turn into a surprising 3-0 start for the Zips.


Prediction

While I do believe the Zips will be better than a 19 point dog, I think the very real prospect of starting the season 0-5 will have the Cyclones focused. Look for Iowa State to win 28-14.