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Three Things Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell Said Ahead of the Cyclones’ Game against OSU

On OSU’s QBs, Iowa State’s QB and the Cyclones’ youth.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The Cowboys will travel to Ames this week in need of a bounce-back, but the Cyclones are in perhaps an even weirder spot.

After gambling investigations swept the legs out from Iowa State’s team before the season started, the Cyclones went 1-2 in nonconference play ahead of their matchup with Oklahoma State at 3 p.m. Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell met with the media this week ahead of Saturday’s game. Here are three things that stood out.

On OSU’s Three-Quarterback System

There are a lot of things going on at Oklahoma State right now, but the most obvious is that the Cowboys are using three quarterbacks.

Gunnar Gundy, Alan Bowman and Garret Rangel have all divvied up snaps through the nonconference, a trend that sounds as if it will carry over into Ames.

When asked about how the Cyclones will prepare for OSU’s three-quarterback system, Campbell said prepping for Oklahoma State is more scheme-focused than personnel-focused.

“I think the one thing about Coach Gundy’s offense is man, he has certainly had a pretty consistent theme of what he’s tried to do,” Campbell said. “They’ve got great wide receivers, they’ve always had great tailbacks and really all three of their quarterbacks have got experience.

“I think you’re more prepping for the scheme and the who is running the scheme than you are so much the certain personnel. But they’ve got really great wide receivers. They’ve got guys that we have played here for a long time that are really talented. The tailbacks are really talented. Will be a really great challenge for us on defense.”

The Young Cyclones

Campbell’s Cyclones are more like a funnel cloud at this point — they’re still developing.

The Cyclones’ two-deep features 29 offensive players — 17 of those players are underclassmen, including 10 freshmen. Defensively, Iowa State lists 26 players on its two-deep, of whom 17 are underclassmen and six are freshmen. So of those 55 players, 62% are underclassmen and 29% are freshmen.

Oklahoma State on the other hand is a little older. Of the 58 players listed on OSU’s offensive and defensive two-deep, 41% are underclassmen and 14% are freshmen.

After gambling investigations gutted the Cyclones’ roster before the season started, Iowa State isn’t going to be the more experienced team in a game too often.

“In all honesty, the last two weeks have been the same story,” Campbell said. “You’ve played two of the oldest teams in college football. What I think you’ve witnessed, at least from a positive — and I know we haven’t gotten the result — you’ve seen great growth. At the end of the day, we’re looking at, obviously, the growth to get the response that we want.

“You can’t just sit there and pound away at the lack of result you have to see where you’re doing well, where are these areas that we have to grow and then you’ve got to demand that it happens.”

On His Quarterback

Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht played in three games as a true freshman last season before preserving his redshirt, and after the Cyclones lost Hunter Dekkers before the year started, Becht stepped into a starting role as a redshirt freshman.

In three games, this season, Becht has completed 62% of his passes, throwing for 549 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. He has played 161 snaps this season, according to PFF. That’s nearly double Gunnar Gundy’s 85 snaps. Gundy has the most snaps to this point among OSU’s quarterbacks.

Becht was a four-star prospect in the 2022 class. Out of Florida, Becht picked the Cyclones over offers from Ole Miss, Wake Forest, Marshall and others.

“I think the thing that has been really positive for Rocco is we have found out a lot more about Rocco Becht in the last three weeks than we could’ve known going into the football season,” Campbell said.

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