West Virginia and Iowa State find themselves in two very different situations leading into Saturday afternoon's contest in Ames. For West Virginia, it must find a way to bounce back from an embarrassing 56-28 loss to Oklahoma. Iowa State, on the other hand, finds itself more confident than ever, coming off of back-to-back wins and a 66-10 trouncing of Texas Tech. Matt Campbell, the Cyclones first year head coach, has seen his team improve throughout the season and feels this ball club is laying the foundation for the years to come.
"(Finishing the season strong) is definitely huge for us," Campbell stated. "I think you saw our football team get better the entire season and that was something that was very important to us - knowing that we lay a really rock solid foundation and then having some positives in terms of winning football games because of how we practice and our attention to detail. When you're doing those things your best it is huge for the future of your football team and the program. There are certainly a lot of positives and one huge challenge for this football team before the season ends."
Campbell's team has been competitive in the Big 12, staying within 10 points of Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State before winning its last two contests against Kansas and Texas Tech. A win against West Virginia would be huge for the program and give the Cyclones some serious momentum heading into the offseason but Campbell says his hope is that his team can play consistently for 60 minutes like it did in the eight touchdown win over Texas Tech.
"We have been learning the whole season and we have gotten better as the season has went on," Campbell said. "We're learning how to practice and how to prepare and we played the Kansas game and didn't play our best football early in the game but my challenge to our football team was 'Can we by the end of the season put forth 60 minutes of our best football' and I think that was the one thing we hadn't done (before Texas Tech) was to play with consistency for four quarters. We really practiced well last week and we were able to play to our potential for four quarters."
The Cyclones find themselves in uncharted waters coming off of a 66-10 win over a conference opponent but there should be plenty of motivation as Iowa State's seniors prepare for their last home game at Jack Trice Stadium. One thing is for sure, the Mountaineers aren't playing the doormat Iowa State football program from years past and must prepare for a big challenge in Ames.