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ATQ & A with Wide Right & Natty Lite

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

We chatted with Matthias Schwartzkopf of Wide Right & Natty Lite to get the inside scoop for the Cyclones!

Brock Purdy and Breece Hall are the clear one-two punch of this offense, but who else do you think can emerge as a threat against this up-and-down Duck defense?

Xavier Hutchinson, the big wide receiver had a big game against Oklahoma with 10 receptions and 114 yards. He is an NFL type guy and chose Iowa State over Oklahoma. So that should speak to the talents. Purdy does sometimes get stuck on him and may stare him down but he is a great weapon to have on the outside.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Cyclone defense? Who are some of the fan favorites?

Strength and it’s weird to say this, it’s their ability to adjust. Iowa State has shown all season to come out really basic and force the opponent to play their cards and John Heacock the defensive coordinator wants to know your gameplan and he just changes it up from there. It’s very weird but we have come accustomed to seeing other teams go right down the field on the first drive or quarter and then be bottled up the rest of the way.

Fan favorites are Mike Rose the LB and Big 12 defensive player of the year. Jaquan Bailey the all time sack leader in Iowa State history and another guy who is really fun to watch rush the passer is Will McDonald. He is not your typical defensive end but his speed rush is a killer and there is no doubt in my mind he will be the Cyclone career sack leader before long.

How are fans feeling after a strange 2020 BIG 12 season? What would a win in the Fiesta Bowl mean to the fanbase?

2020 has been weird but thankfully we got to play all of our Big 12 games this season. No hiccups in the COVID department so other than no fans a few times and then limited fans and no tailgating we had a pretty normal year in terms of football so we can be thankful for that.

As for the game, it would be huge. Some of us are still stuck on the Big 12 Championship but at the same time the Fiesta Bowl is a big deal. As many know we don’t quite have the history as some of the usual suspects in the NY6 games but no better time than the present to get some history started. If Iowa State is going to want to continue on a relevance building crusade this would be a big one to get.

What is going to be the key to the game for Iowa State on offense and defense?

Offense it’s just going to be avoiding turnovers unlike the Big 12 Championship game.Which is a very cliche thing to say but it’s true. Iowa State’s offensive killer this season has been interceptions. Iowa State’s offense runs at full strength when Brock Purdy is playing clean football. Obviously we have won some games this season when he is not but it’s a beautiful thing to watch when he is going.

Defensively it’s adjusting and keeping the Oregon speed in check. While it may not be Justin Herbert back there Tyler Shough can sling it pretty good himself. I am worried about the speed of Oregon so that will be a thing to keep an eye on in this one.

Give us your prediction and why.

This one is hard for me to pinpoint. I just don’t think we have seen Oregon at their peak yet due to a shortened season. While they may have lost those two right before USC I don’t think those games are the true Oregon that some people may think they are. This is a scary one for me just because of the pure unknown. If Iowa State’s offense is humming and Brock Purdy rebounds from Arlington Iowa State wins this and I don’t think we see the Purdy we saw in Arlington, especially come to his home state. Give me Iowa State 34-28.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Championship-Oklahoma at Iowa State Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports