The Iowa State Cyclones began their quest for a Big 12 Championship and a College Football Playoff bid on Saturday, as they hosted in-state rival UNI. The Panthers came into Saturday ranked 21st in the FCS preseason poll.
The game was as slow as the score looked, with both teams trading punts throughout most of the first quarter. Finally, UNI quarterback Will McElvain injected life into the game, as he made a 40-yard completion to Deion McShane, falling down nonetheless, that set UNI up near midfield. A few plays later, McElvain found Quan Hampton on a slant route that resulted in a 54-yard touchdown pass to give UNI a 7-0 lead.
The Cyclones turned to their All-American running back Breece Hall, who led them on consecutive scoring drives, the first coming as a field goal, the second being the only touchdown of the day for the Cyclones to put them ahead 10-7.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said after the game: “You look at how we win football games here, you run the ball, you stop the run, and I thought some areas on special teams greatly improved, which is really exciting, I thought Brock’s [Purdy] downfield passing was better than I’ve seen it, which is certainly a positive.”
UNI tacked on a field goal to tie the score at 10 soon following, but Austin Mevis knocked in a 40-yard field goal to give Iowa State a 13-10 lead headed into halftime. The second half proved more of the same, the only points from either side coming from a Connor Assalley field goal as #7 Iowa State held on 16-10.
The Cyclones will be 1-0 as they host Iowa in the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series, with ESPN’s College Gameday in attendance next Saturday.