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Sports After offseason of hype, No. 8 Iowa State has to survive test from Northern Iowa

07:55  05 september  2021
07:55  05 september  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

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AMES, Iiowa — The anticipation built all summer for the unveiling of the first Iowa State team ranked in the preseason top 10.

a football player holding a bat on a field: Northern Iowa defensive back Omar Brown tries to tackle Iowa State \running back Breece Hall (28) in the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. © Steven Branscombe, USA TODAY Sports Northern Iowa defensive back Omar Brown tries to tackle Iowa State \running back Breece Hall (28) in the second half at Jack Trice Stadium.

The Cyclones took the field Saturday in the season opener, but that highly ranked team certainly didn't make an appearance.

Eighth-ranked Iowa State looked wholly mediocre against Northern Iowa of the Football Championship Subdivision, but emerged from Jack Trice Stadium with a 1-0 record after beating the Panthers, 16-10.

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It was yet another early-season malaise under sixth-year coach Matt Campbell, who is 8-11 in August and September games at Iowa State. The Cyclones lost their season-openers in 2020 and 2016, and they needed three overtimes to beat UNI in 2019.

They haven't had a no-drama opener since crushing the Panthers, 42-24, in 2017.

Northern Iowa took the first lead of the game when Quan Hampton broke a tackle in the middle of the field and raced 52 yards for a touchdown with just over 4 minutes left in the first quarter.

A touchdown from Breece Hall and a pair of field goals put Iowa State up, 13-10, heading into halftime.

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The Cyclones had a chance to put the game all but out of reach with 6 minutes to play, but their drive stalled out at the 4-yard line. Campbell opted for a field goal rather than going for it, and Connor Assalley's 21-yarder put Iowa State up six.

Iowa State was able to all but end the game on the ensuing possession when Datrone Young picked off Panthers quarterback Will McElvain. Northern Iowa got the ball back with a minute left deep in its own territory, but couldn't threaten to score before time expired.

Iowa State's offense clearly missed the services of All-America tight end Charlie Kolar, who missed his second consecutive season-opener due to injury.

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The Cyclones' offense was efficient, but not especially productive. Quarterback Brock Purdy was 21 of 26 for 199 yards. Hall, who enters the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, had just 69 yards on 23 carries.

Northern Iowa's offense was stifled by the Cyclone defense, amassing just 275 total yards and turning it over twice.

The Cyclones will need to elevate their level of play immediately as they'll welcome in No. 18 Iowa for the annual Cy-Hawk game next week. The Hawkeyes demolished No. 17 Indiana 34-6 on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

Campbell is 0-4 against the Hawkeyes, and Iowa State hasn't won the rivalry game since 2014. The game was not played last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: After offseason of hype, No. 8 Iowa State has to survive test from Northern Iowa

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