Iowa gets a good look at Iowa State every year, and it's almost always a battle to the finish. You've done your fair share of scouting the other team, so you may recognize some of these names. But some could be new, so lets dive in.
Nothing too shocking here right off the bat. Lazard has been an impact player ever since he stepped foot on campus back in 2014 as a true freshman. In 12 games he caught 45 passes for nearly 600 yards and three scores. In his sophomore season, his numbers got a little better. He caught 56 balls for 808 yards and six touchdowns in just 11 games that year. Now he's an upperclassman with two years of starting experience under his belt, which could lead to a big year.
He started off his junior season by catching six passes for 129 yard and a touchdown, so I'd say he's starting off fairly well. As we heard earlier in the day, Iowa's star corner, Desmond King will be following Lazard around the field in hopes of shutting him down.
In my eyes, this could be one of the better WR/CB match ups we see all season long in all of college football. If Iowa slows Lazard, they probably slow the Cyclones, but if Lazard is allowed to make a few big plays, the Cyclones will likely hang around for a while.
He didn't show it in the first game of the year for the Cyclones, but Mike Warren is a terrific running back for coach Matt Campbell and staff. Warren rushed for nearly 1,400 yards in his true freshman campaign, but Iowa didn't see much of him during their game inside Jack Trice Stadium last fall. He carried the ball just three times for nine yards in that game.
Warren then went on to rush for more than 125 yards in six of the teams final 10 games. That's fairly impressive for a true freshman.
He wasn't particularly impressive in Iowa State's week one loss to the Northern Iowa Panthers, rushing for just 30 yards and 12 carries, but some of that may be due to new head coach Matt Campbell's system, not to mention working behind a fairly inexperienced offensive line. That group that started the game for ISU last Saturday had a combined six starts between the five of them.
If Iowa isn't careful Warren could break off some big plays for the Cyclones on Saturday night.
Cotton-Moya didn't play much as a freshman or a sophomore, but has taken on a captains role in his junior season. He did a lot for the Cyclones from his safety spot in their loss on Saturday night, but the fact that one of your safeties is leading your team in solo tackles probably isn't the best thing. It means ball carriers got to the second and third levels a lot, and he probably had to make some open field tackles after a catch by a receiver.
He is a very talented kid that has a nose for the football and he is also a very good tackler. To go a long with the 11 tackles, he recorded one for a loss, and broke up a pass. He'll be one of the main guys to watch on the Cyclones defense this weekend.
Another defensive player that has some potential for the Cyclones is Northrup. I had initially thought that this might be a reach, but I thought he really played well in their game the other night. It seemed like he was in on just about every play, he recorded 13 total tackles, and when you factor in how inexperienced he is, that'll tell you a lot.
He's still kind of coming into his game being just a sophomore, but if Northrup plays on Saturday like he did against the Panthers the week prior, he'll be a bothersome player at the linebacker spot for Greg Davis' offense.
I've still yet to really figure Lanning out. There will be bits that he really impresses me and then there will be times where I just don't really understand what he's doing.
I believe the potential is there, but he's a tad inconsistent right now. He threw for three touchdowns in week one, but also chucked up two interceptions. He's got a nice weapon in Lazard, but he can't be the only one helping him out.
If Iowa sees the good version of Lanning, he could wind up having a solid day, especially if the Iowa secondary plays the way they did against Miami (OH). It wasn't terrible, but it also was not impressive. It's also worth noting that Iowa State QB's have found some success against Iowa in the past.