Iowa State Cyclones (0-0, 0-0) at Southeast Missouri State (0-0, 0-0)
Date: September 3rd
Time: 1 P.M
Place: Jack Trice Stadium
Line: Iowa State (-37.5)
When we last left off...
We were last enjoying some Cyclone football in the Cheez-it Bowl. Unfortunately, the Cyclones took a loss at the hands of Clemson 20-13. The Cyclone offense was sort of sleepy playing without Breece Hall, who sat out the game for preparation for the NFL Draft. The Cyclones were only able to rush for 66 total yards against a stout Clemson defensive front. Brock Purdy in his final game for the Cyclones threw for 204 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Iowa State had the ball to end the game but could not come up with some late-game heroics.
The Red Hawks are part of the Ohio Valley Conference. In 2021 they were 4-7 overall their lone game against an FBS opponent was a 59-28 loss at Missouri. The Redhawks have been picked to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference behind UT Martin.
Tom Matukewicz begins his ninth season as Southeast Missouri’s head coach. He has one Ohio Valley Conference title, two NCAA FCS playoff appearances, and the school’s only FCS Playoff win. Matukewicz has seven wins over nationally-ranked FCS opponents, most of any head coach in SEMO history.
This is the first-ever meeting between Iowa State and Southeast Missouri State.
Iowa State Offense
Iowa State will have a new gunslinger in the backfield with Hunter Dekkers taking over for Brock Purdy. The Iowa native will look to take the Cyclone offense to new heights amid an enormous amount of hype from inside and outside the program.
Normally, a fan base would feel a bit more uneasy about a change at the quarterback position after years of the same name at the spot, but Dekkers has performed well in his short stints in-game action. Will the Cyclones unleash the strong arm of Dekkers and stretch the field more than they have in the past? We should have a pretty good idea within the first few weeks of the season (then again, maybe not since we like to hide things early on).
Jirehl Brock is back after waiting in the wings behind Breece Hall. He will get the start for the Cyclones in this one but there are some names behind him that are making some noise. Deon Silas and Eli Sanders are also returning after season-limited action in their initial seasons in Ames. Though, there is a freshman by the name of Cartevious Norton making some noise in the preseason that may have an opportunity to flip the rotation upside down. If history is a telling story, the running back rotation will be completely different later in the season than it will be against Southeast Missouri State.
The wide receivers for Iowa State will be solid as ever with Xavier Hutchinson and Jaylin Noel returning to help keep things stable on the outside. Who emerges behind them to be a third-tier target remains to be seen, but there is nothing to worry about at wide receiver. Tight ends Easton Dean, Tyler Moore, and DeShawn Hanika will look to replace a hole at the tight end position left by Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen.
All eyes will be on the offensive line. Rightfully so. Jake Remsburg went down in camp with a leg injury and now all of a sudden Iowa State is having to test their depth across the offensive line. While Iowa State has some talent they can plug and play the familiarity with each other will have to come together quicker than not as it will be tested early on this season.
Southeast Missouri State gave up 31 points a game a season ago. What got them in trouble was not being consistent in stopping the pass and the run on a regular basis. The RedHawks gave up over 8.5 yards per pass attempt and 4.8 yards per rushing attempt.
All-American Bryce Norman is the leader of the RedHawk defense. As a freshman played in every game and started the last seven games. He led Southeast Missouri State with 66 tackles while forcing 3 fumbles. The linebackers will have a new position coach for them this season. Connor Benado and Tim Billings coaching those areas for the first time. Benado was a quality control coach for Southeast Missouri State last season.
The backfield of Southeast Missouri’s defense is returning a bunch of experience and may be considered as one of the best in FCS when they are all healthy. Seven defensive backs on SEMO’s depth chart took snaps last season and four of them return with starting experience. Lawrence Johnson, the senior safety is the most talented of the bunch and will be the highlight of the secondary.
The Verdict - Iowa State
While Iowa State is trying to figure out what they want to do offensively with a new quarterback and other faces on offense, the talent alone may be too much for Southeast Missouri State to handle. If you want to work out a few kinks and make some big plays this may be the game for Iowa State. It’s not like going out there with new guys against Northern Iowa who seem to have Iowa State’s number. Should be a decent day for Iowa State on the offensive side of the ball.
Iowa State Defense
Different side of the ball, same theme for the Cyclones. New faces in a lot of places. Thankfully one returner happens to be Pre-season All-American Will McDonald. Who just happens to be chasing the all-time Big 12 sack record which is held by Von Miller. McDonald needs 4.5 sacks to pass Miller. Joining him on the defensive line are Isaiah Lee, Blake Petersen, J.R. Singleton, and others. This should still be a very talented defensive front that should be able to create a ton of havoc to help the linebackers settle in.
All eyes are going to be on the linebackers in this one for me. While Gerry Vaughn and O’Rien Vance have taken significant snaps at Iowa State, the losses of Mike Rose and Jake Hummel are no small things to look past. Coming on board to help with that is Deleware transfer, Colby Reeder. He will play the role of Mike Rose in this defense and while he may not be as talented as Rose, if you turn on the tape of Reeder he is almost a carbon copy of him. This will be a fun group to watch on Saturday to see how well they play. Some other names you may see rotated in are Cole Pedersen, Myles Mendeszoon, and freshman Will McLaughlin.
The Iowa State secondary took some lumps in the transfer portal this offseason and quite frankly it had me worried a bit but then the move to make Anthony Johnson Jr. a safety eased my worry a bit. His experience and versatility should allow some of these younger and talented guys to come in and make a big impact all over the backend of the defense. Of course, you can’t forget about Beau Freyler, as a freshman, he came on late in the 2021 season and capped it off with a monster performance against Clemson seemingly making every single play that came his way. Should be exciting to see how he takes it to the next level in 2022.
I would like to say there may be some new wrinkles in this defense that fans can be excited to watch against Southeast Missouri State, but that’s not going to be the case. Jon Heacock is going to roll out the same ol’ 3-3-5 and let her buck.
A season ago, this RedHawk offense wasn’t one to air it out and make some noise passing the ball. They were most comfortable running the ball and using the legs of their quarterback CJ Ogbanna and running back Geno Hess. With a change at quarterback this season, I can certainly see this Southeast Missouri State team putting it up in the air some more.
Paxton DeLaurent will lead the RedHawk attack into Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Southeast Missouri State newcomer won the starting job in camp over CJ Ogbanna who started every game last season for Southeast Missouri State. DeLaurent spent the previous two seasons at Central Methodist University. There, he earned All-Conference honors after throwing for 2,499 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2021.
Southeast Missouri’s running back room is held down by senior Geno Hess. The 2022 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year and preseason All-American is only 971 yards away from becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher. He rushed for 1,116 yards, and 14 touchdowns a season ago.
Southeast Missouri State will have a lifelong Iowa State fan starting at tight end this Saturday. Will Weidmann, the Clarion, Iowa native’s family has had season tickets to Iowa State football since the 70’s. KCCI put out a profile on the RedHawk tight end who will finally get to suit up and play a game at Jack Trice Stadium.
The Verdict - Iowa State
While the Southeast Missouri State brings back their stud horse in the backfield the Iowa State defense feasts on stopping the run. Even with some of the big-time names moving on from Iowa State this defense just feels like a next-man-up deal for Jon Heacock. I expect Iowa State to stop Geno Hess and make Southeast Missouri State move the ball through the air, which won’t be that successful. Going to be a big day for the Cyclone defense.
Iowa State finally had a decent kicking game last season and now we go right back to the unknown. Rumor has it that freshman Jace Gilbert will handle the kicking duties for Iowa State. The 5-star kicking prospect was one of the nation's best recruits for both kicker and punter. We shall see how he fares out there but my special teams nut cup will be firmly entrenched until I feel safe.
The Verdict - Iowa State
Don’t really see special teams playing a factor in this game. Iowa State by a country mile in this department, just because.
Winning Scale from 1 to 10
The talent gap in this game is like the quality of Kwik Star (Iowa State) and Casey’s (Southeast Missouri State). You got the CEO of Kwik Star (Matt Campbell) who cares about a quality product and getting things done and then you got the CEO of Casey’s (Tom Matukewicz) who just doesn’t have the quality yet or just never did. For that reason alone, I will give Iowa State customer satisfaction chance in taking this one from Southeast Missouri State.
Note from the Managing Editor: I have no idea what the f*** Matthias is talking about
Clones by a million.
This feels like it will be a bit of a sluggish kickoff to the game. The Cyclones have a bunch of new faces making their first start and the staff may want to get them into rhythm game-wise before opening up the playbook a bit. That’s not to say Iowa State won’t play well it’s just a flow-of-the-game type situation. With that said, Iowa State should have no trouble in this one. While Southeast Missouri State has some guys that can play at a high level, Iowa State just will have too wide of a talent gap over them. The Cyclones should take care of business and give Iowa State fans a warm fuzzy feeling over Labor Day before heading to face the ugly mugs out east.
Iowa State - 48
Southeast Missouri State- 10
Let us know your predictions in the comments below!