Iowa State looks to bounce back from a tough overtime loss last weekend when it travels to face Mid-American Conference member Akron on Saturday. The Cyclones had a seven-point lead over Iowa late last week before the Hawkeyes scored in the final minutes of regulation, then won with a touchdown in the extra session to hand Iowa State its first loss of the season.
The Cyclones’ offense has been humming this season, averaging 436 yards and 41.5 points. Junior quarterback Jacob Park has been on target, averaging 309 passing yards and 26 completions while connecting on six scoring strikes through two games. Senior Allen Lazard (team-high 14 receptions, 131 yards, two touchdowns) and sophomore Hakeem Butler (12, 203, three) have gotten off to fast starts at the wide receiver position. The Zips, who were picked to finish fourth in the MAC East Division, split their first two games, losing to No. 5 Penn State 52-0 before dismantling FCS member Arkansas-Pine Bluff 52-3 last week.
TV: Noon ET. CBS Sports Network. LINE: Iowa State -10
ABOUT IOWA STATE (1-1): While the Cyclones’ passing game is garnering a lot of headlines, sophomore running back David Montgomery may be the engine that powers the high-scoring offense. After two games, Montgomery ranks third in the Big 12 with 97 rushing yards per game and leads the conference with three rushing touchdowns. But will make him more valuable as the season goes on is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as well, as shown by his five receptions for 53 yards against Iowa.
ABOUT AKRON (1-1): The contrast in opponents is evident in running back Warren Bell’s season as the senior was held to 27 yards on 13 carries versus Penn State but totaled 146 yards and three touchdowns on 20 attempts versus Pine Bluff. Junior linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III was named MAC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 10 tackles, a sack and an interception return for a touchdown — his first career pick and score — against Pine Bluff. As a team, it was night and day for the Zips in the first two contests defensively, going from allowing 569 yards against the Nittany Lions to 168 versus Pine Bluff.
1. Iowa State’s 467 yards of offense against Iowa tied a school record as the fifth consecutive game the team has amassed 400 yards or more offensively.
2. Akron was 7-for-7 in the red zone versus Pine Bluff after getting no closer than the Penn State 33-yard line in its opener.
3. Cyclones sophomore LB Marcel Spears ranks second in the Big 12 and ninth nationally in tackles per game with 11.5.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 38, Akron 27