The college football season is finally underway, so we’ll get you caught up on some of the big matchups around the nation in Week 1.
Iowa State Cyclones (0-0) vs Southeast Missouri State Redhawks (0-0)
Saturday, September 3rd @ Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, IA
How to Watch:
- Time: 2:00 p.m. ET
- Channel: Big 12 Now on ESPN+
- Spread: ISU -34 (-110)
- Over/Under: 54.5 (-110)
Both the Cyclones and the Redhawks are preparing to meet for the first time in their season openers in Ames, Iowa, which should prove to be an important game for both sides.
On paper, it should be an easy start for Cyclones, as they are looking to be a middle-of-the-pack competitor in a tough Big 12 Conference. However, season openers in the past haven’t always been smooth sailing for Iowa State.
In 2021, the Cyclones were expected to be the best they’ve been in a long time, yet UNI gave them a run for their money in a tight one-possession contest. Two years earlier, UNI brought Iowa State to three overtimes before the Cyclones finally pulled out a win. In 2020, the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns shocked the Cyclones and came out on top, 31-14.
Although it isn’t easy to take down the Cyclones at home, the unpredictability of season openers might put some added pressure on the team. However, the Cyclones should be more comfortable knowing that they are 2-0 in both previous meetings against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference, although the last time they met a team from the OVC was in 2002.
The big storyline for the game will be how the new quarterbacks adapt to their starting workloads. Hunter Dekkers has been working in the offseason as the starting quarterback for the Cyclones, while Paxton Delaurent won the quarterback battle for the Redhawks.
Dekkers showed off his natural talent at times as a backup for Brock Purdy, throwing for 193 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in 2021, tacking on 61 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Delaurent is a transfer from Central Methodist University, where he passed for 2,499 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2021. Both quarterbacks will make their debut as starters for their respective teams.
Iowa State Head Coach Matt Campbell will also see a familiar face on Saturday. Southeast Missouri Head Coach Tom Matukewicz served as defensive coordinator under Campbell during their times at Toledo. Both teams have a lot on the line, as a win to start the season could be the momentum they need to tackle the rest of the teams ahead.
Players to Know:
Hunter Dekkers – Iowa State, QB
2021 season stats: 193 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, one rushing touchdown
This game will give fans the first look at Dekkers as a starting quarterback. For the last two seasons, Dekkers has taken reps behind Brock Purdy, regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks in Iowa State history.
Looking leaner and faster than ever, Dekkers will have the opportunity to show the college football world what he brings to the table, both in his arm strength and dual-threat capabilities. This will also be an important game for Dekkers to build the team’s confidence and should set the pace for the season.
Xavier Hutchinson – Iowa State, WR
2021 season stats: 83 receptions, 987 yards, five touchdowns
One name on the Iowa State offense that will be heard a lot on Saturday will be Hutchinson. With Dekkers taking his first snaps as a starter, Hutchinson will be his safety net throughout the game.
Hutchinson also earned First Team All-Big 12 honors for the second year in a row following his historic 2021 campaign. With the loss of major offensive weapons over the offseason in running back Breece Hall and tight ends Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen, Hutchinson is in a prime position to have a monstrous game.
Will McDonald IV – Iowa State, DE
2021 season stats: 11.5 sacks, 36 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, five forced fumbles
McDonald is currently one of the best defensive ends in college football, and there’s no doubt about that. His 11.5 sacks in 2021 led the Big 12 and ranked him fifth nationally, while his 22 sacks over the last two seasons were the second most by any player in that span. Causing a nuisance for quarterbacks is what McDonald does best, and with a new quarterback under center for the Redhawks, he is going to eat on Saturday.
Geno Hess – Southeast Missouri State, RB
2021 season stats: 1,117 yards, 14 touchdowns, 5.5 yards per attempt
Hess is an elite running back talent and has the opportunity to cement himself as the best running back in school history during his 2022 campaign. He is coming off a strong season, averaging over five yards a carry and 111.6 yards per game.
Hess will be chasing the school leaderboards in 2022, as he currently sits sixth all-time in rushing yards and second all-time in rushing touchdowns. There’s a reason Hess was named the Ohio Valley Conference preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Hess can do some damage to the Iowa State defense if it doesn’t react well to his explosive running.
- Jake Remsburg, Iowa State offensive lineman: Undisclosed injury. Questionable for Saturday.
For more College football coverage, like this Iowa State preview, visit amNYSports.com