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Big 12 Preview Series: Iowa State Returns Talent, But Stumbles in Opener

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(photo via cyclones.com)

WVSN’s Big 12 Preview Series will give a snapshot of all nine of WVU football’s Big 12 opponents throughout this week. The schedule for this week is:

Monday: Baylor and Iowa State
Tuesday: Kansas and Kansas State
Wednesday: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
Thursday: TCU and  Texas
Friday: Texas Tech

In stark contrast to Baylor, Iowa State will return a slew of talent and production for the 2020 season.

Only three of the Cyclones’ eight all-conference players from 2019 have moved on from the team and defensive end JaQuan Bailey, an all-conference player in 2018, will make his return to the field following an injury last season.

On offense, Matt Campbell’s team will return quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Breece Hall and tight ends Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen, all all-conference players last season. Just a sophomore last season, Purdy beat out both Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer to earn second-team All-Big 12 honors.

Defensively, ISU will return eight starters from last season as well as the aforementioned Bailey. The leader on that side of the ball is safety Greg Eisworth II, a preseason All-Big 12 pick in 2020. During Big 12 Football Media Day on Big 12 Now, Eisworth said the Cyclones’ focus in 2020 is to be more sound on defense and force more turnovers.

“We just want to focus on just doing our job,” Eisworth said. “Just putting more emphasis on what is our task, completing our assignment each play and then trying to create more turnovers. Keep it simple, knowing out jobs and executing.”

Expectations were high for Iowa State entering the year with all of this returning talent, but the Cyclones stumbled out of the gate, losing 34-14 go Louisiana-Lafayette in their opener this past weekend. Purdy completed 16 of 35 passes for just 145 yards and an interception against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Five Key Departures:

OL Julian Good-Jones
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019

WR Deshaunte Jones
– 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 76 rec., 877 yards, 2 TD

DL Ray Lima
– 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 28 tackles, 2,5 TFL

LB Marcel Spears
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
– 92 tackles, 8 TFL, 7 PBU

OL Josh Knipfel
– Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019

Top Five Returners:

QB Brock Purdy
– 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 3,982 passing yards, 65.7% completion, 27 TD, 9 INT

S Greg Eisworth II
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 65 tackles, 1 INT, 10 PBU

HB Breece Hall
– 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 897 rushing yards, 9 TD

TE Charlie Kolar
– 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
– 51 rec., 697 yards, 7 TD

DE JaQuan Bailey
– Preseason All-Big 12 in 2020
– Medical Redshirt in 2019
– 2018: 46 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 8 sacks

Schedule:

  • Sept. 12 vs Louisiana-Lafayette
    • Lost 31-14
  • Sept. 26 at TCU
  • Oct. 3 vs Oklahoma
  • Oct. 10 vs Texas Tech
  • Oct. 24 at Oklahoma State
  • Oct. 31 at Kansas
  • Nov. 7 vs Baylor
  • Nov. 21 vs Kansas State
  • Nov. 27 at Texas
  • Dec. 5 vs WVU
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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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