A sneak peek at the 2021 Cyclones season

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After one of the best football seasons in program history, Iowa State enters the 2021 campaign with higher expectations than ever.

Coach Matt Campbell shot NFL interest in returning to Ames. Several of his key players have done so too, resulting in a veteran roster that includes eight Cyclones on the Big 12 preseason squad.

Experts like Iowa State‘s chances of making a comeback to the Big 12 Championship game after losing it in 2020. Now, with high expectations for the Cyclones both internally and nationally, 2021 is theirs. chance to prove that last year’s success was no paw.

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Here’s a look at the 2021 Iowa State football schedule:

Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa

What to know about the match-up: The Panthers have given Campbell’s teams everything they can handle since joining Ames. Northern Iowa spoiled Campbell’s Iowa State debut in 2016 with a 25-20 victory and took the Cyclones to three overtime in the 2019 season opener.

Iowa in the state of Iowa

  • When: 3:30 p.m., September 11
  • Or: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames
  • How to watch / listen: ABC, Cyclone Radio Network, TuneIn
  • Last meeting in 2019: 18-17 loss

What to know about the match-up: Campbell is still on the hunt for his first win over the Hawkeyes, but it could be his best opportunity yet. After losing 42-3 to Iowa in Campbell’s first season at the helm, Iowa State has since slashed deficits, losing by a field margin or less in two of the three previous encounters. If Iowa State can pull off a victory over their biggest rival this time around, it will get a lot of attention; This year’s Cy-Hawk game is slated to air on ABC.

After:

State of Iowa at UNLV

  • When: 9:30 p.m., September 18
  • Or: Las Vegas, Nevada
  • How to watch / listen: CBS Sports Network, Cyclone Radio Network, TuneIn
  • Last meeting in 2008: 34-31 loss

What to know about the match-up: Iowa State last faced the Rebels over a decade ago, losing a field goal in Las Vegas. This year’s game could be more favorable for the Cyclones, however, as UNLV just finished a 0-6 season in 2020. Iowa State holds the all-time series lead, 4-1.

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State of Iowa in Baylor

  • When: September 25 (time to be determined)
  • Or: Waco, Texas
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: 38-31 victory

What to know about the match-up: Iowa State and Baylor have had their fair share of close games in recent history, including a 23-21 win for Baylor in 2019 and the Cyclones’ seven-point win last year. The Bears’ schedule is favorable early in the season, which means this game against Iowa State could be their first real test of 2021.

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Iowa State vs. Kansas

  • When: October 2 (time to be confirmed)
  • Or: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: victory 52-22

What to know about the match-up: Unsurprisingly, Kansas has caused little problem for Iowa State in recent years while flirting with 12 great seasons without a win for more than a decade. The Cyclones have won 10 of the last 11 in that series, including all five contests since Campbell took over in 2016.

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State of Iowa to State of Kansas

  • When: October 16 (time to be confirmed)
  • Or: Manhattan, Kansas
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: 45-0 win

What to know about the match-up: The Cyclones will have a week off before this game. The Cyclones were leading 35-0 at halftime of last year’s battle and moved closer to the finish line, edging K-State 539-149 and winning just about every facet of the game. Historically, this game has been about as close as it gets: Iowa State holds a narrow 51-49-4 advantage in the all-time series.

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State of Iowa vs. State of Oklahoma

  • When: October 23 (time to be confirmed)
  • Or: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames (return game)
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: 24-21 lost

What to know about the match-up: Oklahoma State was the only Big 12 team to beat the Cyclones in the regular season a year ago. If there’s one thing you can count on in this series, it’s a close game; each of the last six games between these programs has been decided by one touchdown or less.

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State of Iowa in West Virginia

  • When: October 30 (time to be confirmed)
  • Or: Morgantown, West Virginia
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: 42-6 win

What to know about the match-up: After West Virginia won five of the first six games in this series, the Cyclones have won three in a row with progressively wider margins – 16 points in 2018, 24 points in 2019 and 36 points in 2020. A fourth Back-to-back victory over the Mountaineers would mean a lot to the Cyclones who are gearing up for a formidable November slate.

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November 21, 2020;  Ames, Iowa, United States;  Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy (15) runs onto the field before their football game against Kansas State at Jack Trice Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

State of Iowa vs. Texas

  • When: November 6 (time to be determined)
  • Or: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: 23-20 win

What to know about the match-up: Texas has always performed well against Iowa State. The Cyclones were only 2-14 all-time in the series until 2019, when they won the first of consecutive nails against the Longhorns. This match could go a long way in determining the ranking of the Big 12; Texas are expected to finish third, one place behind Iowa State.

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State of Iowa to Texas Tech

  • When: November 13 (time to be confirmed)
  • Or: Lubbock, Texas
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: 31-15 victory

What to know about the match-up: Besides Kansas, Texas Tech may have been Iowa State’s favorite opponent during Matt Campbell’s day. The Cyclones have been a clear 5-0 in this series since Campbell’s arrival, and every game has been decided by more than one possession. The Red Raiders are looking for their first winning season since 2015.

State of Iowa to Oklahoma

  • When: November 20 (time to be determined)
  • Or: Normand, Oklahoma
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone radio network, TuneIn, TV to be determined
  • Last meeting in 2020: Loss 27-21 (Big 12 Championship Game)

What to know about the match-up: Iowa State managed to make those games competitive under Campbell, which is quite an achievement considering Oklahoma’s 73-5 lead in the pre-2016 series. Since then, the Cyclones have won twice and failed in the last minute on two other occasions, including in last year’s Big 12 title game. It’s the one to circle on your calendars – these teams should be fighting for the top of the Big 12 standings, and a rematch at Arlington isn’t out of the question.

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State of Iowa vs. TCU

  • When: 3 or 3:30 p.m., Friday, November 26
  • Or: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames
  • How to watch / listen: Cyclone, TuneIn, Fox or FS1 radio network
  • Last meeting in 2020: 37-34 win

What to know about the match-up: It should be Iowa State’s only non-Saturday regular season game. Last year’s game was a high profile affair – Iowa State running back Breece Hall ran for 154 yards and three touchdowns, while Council Bluffs native Max Duggan led TCU with 241 passing yards and three touchdowns in the air. Iowa State has a slight 3-2 lead in the series under Matt Campbell.

Aaron Marner is a digital producer for the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @ A_Mar32.



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