Iowa State looks to bounce back with visit to Ohio to face Kurtis Rourke and Bobcats

Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht (3) passes over Iowa defensive end Joe Evans (13) and defensive lineman Logan Lee (85) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Iowa State (1-1) at Ohio (2-1), Saturday, noon ET (ESPN2)

Line: Iowa State by 3, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Iowa State leads 8-0.


The Cyclones are without quarterback Hunter Dekkers and some other players because of a gambling scandal. Behind second-year quarterback Rocco Brecht, Iowa State didn’t score its first and only touchdown of the game until late in a 20-13 loss to Iowa last Saturday. With Dekkers out, the Bobcats — picked by many to win the Mid-American Conference — have a better chance of giving the Cyclones a game on Ohio’s home field in Athens. Ohio outlasted Florida Atlantic on the road 17-10 last week with quarterback Kurtis Rourke, the reigning conference player of the year, returning to the lineup after he was sidelined with an injury in the opener. An upset of the Big 12 team would give the Bobcats a signature win.


Brecht vs. Ohio defense. The Bobcats held FAU to just 178 yards passing and bottled up its run game. Brecht threw a lot last week against the Hawkeyes with uneven results. He completed 23 of 44 for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception.


Iowa State: Receiver Jaden Higgins, who had 757 passing yards and 10 TDs in 2022 at Eastern Kentucky, had eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown against Iowa.

Ohio: The Bobcats’ success depends on Rourke, an NFL prospect, finding his comfort zone after being sidelined with a torn ACL in the 11th game last season. He left early in the opening week loss to San Diego State with an unspecified injury, sat out the second game and seemed to be moving OK when he returned last week. He was 17 for 28 for 196 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against FAU.


Iowa State has beaten Ohio in all eight of their meetings, the first time in 1962. The Cyclones won 43-10 in Ames, Iowa, last season. … Iowa State’s eighth-year coach, Matt Campbell, grew up in Massillon, north of Columbus, Ohio. Campbell, who previously coached at Toledo, is 25-5 coaching in the state of Ohio. … Iowa State’s defense is allowing just 4.2 yards per play and has a streak of 17 games holding opponents to fewer than 400 yards, longest in the nation. … Cyclones DB Jeremiah Cooper picked off his third pass of the season against Iowa and is tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions. … Llnebacker Keye Thompson led Ohio with seven tackles against FAU. … WR Sam Wiglusz, an Ohio State transfer, leads the Bobcats with 14 catches for 125 yards. He’s on the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the best receiver in college football. … Ohio RB Running back O’Shaan Allison has rushed 34 times for 134 yards after missing the entire 2022 because of an injury.


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