First Meeting Between Cyclones and Cougars
The 24th-ranked Iowa State Cyclones and the 13th-ranked Washington State Cougars will meet on Friday at the Alamodome. They are participating in the 2018 Valero Alamo Bowl.
The Iowa State and Washington State football programs have each been around for approximately 125 years. They’ll meet for the first time ever in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Iowa State rallied behind QB Brock Purdy to tie for third in the Big 12 with West Virginia. They earned this bid based on their 30-14 win against the Mountaineers, who were ranked No. 6 at the time. Purdy made his first career start in that game and threw three touchdown passes. He has remained a steady force for the Cyclones, leading them to a 6-1 mark as a starter.
Washington State tied for first in the North Division of the Pac-12. They missed out on the conference championship game when they lost to Washington 28-15 in the regular-season finale. The Cougars are led by quarterback Gardner Minshew. He is a senior transfer from East Carolina who passed for 4,477 yards and 36 touchdowns this season. Opposing defenses only managed nine interceptions and 11 sacks against the agile signal caller. Washington State coach Mike Leach has faced Iowa State four times in his career, owning a 3-1 mark. This was while coaching Texas Tech from 2000-2009.
Much of the focus is going to be on the quarterbacks. Iowa State sported the top-ranked defense in the Big 12 during the regular season, only allowing an average of 22.5 points a game. The leader on that side of the ball is safety Greg Eisworth. He is a community college transfer who was named the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year by conference coaches. Eisworth led the Cyclones with 7.6 tackles a game. Iowa State will likely gear its defense toward the pass. Washington State ranked second-to-last in rushing among 129 FBS teams during the regular season.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
Iowa State was 8-4 overall and 6-3 in the Big 12 during the regular season. The Cyclones ranked last in the Big 12 in rushing offense at 124.3 yards a game. They had the third-most productive running back in the conference in David Montgomery. He who averaged 99.3 yards a game and was Iowa State’s lone first-team all-conference selection. Montgomery missed a 48-42 victory against Oklahoma State on Oct. 6 with an upper arm injury. It was feared at the time that Montgomery would be out longer, but he came back with a season-high 189 yards the following week against West Virginia. He enters the Alamo Bowl with back-to-back 100-yard efforts.
Washington State was 10-2 overall and 7-2 in the Pac-12 during the regular season. The snowy conditions played a huge role in Washington State’s loss to Washington last month. Minshew didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. He was held to 152 passing yards after throwing for at least 319 in every other game. Minshew won’t need to deal with adverse weather inside the Alamodome. Minshew hasn’t looked for wide receivers Dezmon Patmon and Easop Winston much the last two games. That should change on the speedy turf.
PREDICTION: Washington State 38, Iowa State 24
Valero Alamo Bowl Trends
Washington State Cougar Trends
- Trend Under is 8-2 in Cougars last 10 games as an underdog of 10.5 or greater. Hit % 80.00% (10) O/U 2|8 Push 0 W/L
- Under is 6-1 in Cougars last 7 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. 85.70% (7) 1|6 0
- Under is 4-1 in Cougars last 5 games as a favorite. 80.00% (5) 1|4 0
- Over is 5-1-1 in Cougars last 7 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0. 83.30% (7) 5|1 1
Iowa State Cyclones Trends
- Trend Under is 7-0 in Cyclones last 7 games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0. Hit % 100.00% (7) O/U 1|6 Push 0 W/L
- Under is 26-7-1 in Cyclones last 34 games as a favorite. 78.80% (34) 1|4 0
- Under is 3-0-1 in Cyclones last 4 bowl games as an underdog. 100.00% (4) 0|3 1
- Under is 7-2 in Cyclones last 9 games as an underdog of 3.5-10.0. 77.80% (9) 5|1 1
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