SEC-Big 12 Preview 2015 – Iowa State 2017-04-25T11:39:43+00:00
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Allstate Sugar Bowl Looks at Big 12-SEC 2015The Allstate Sugar Bowl secured its future through January 2026 with the announcement that it would host the champions of the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences in eight of the 12 years between 2014 and 2025. If the champion of either or both leagues is selected for the College Football Playoff, a replacement team from that conference will play in the Sugar Bowl. In the four seasons that the Sugar Bowl is not hosting the Big 12 and the SEC (2014, 2017, 2020, 2023), it will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.

After last year’s Playoff Semifinal game, this year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will be the first as the official destination for the top available teams from the Big 12 and the SEC. To lead into the season, the Bowl is providing brief previews of each team in the leagues.

Iowa State2014 Record: 2-10 (0-9, 10th in the Big 12)

Bowl Projections
None.

Key Returnees
Sam B. Richardson (Sr., QB): 254-of-451 for 2,669 yards, 18 TDs, 9 INT, Manning Award Watch List
D’Vario Montgomery (Jr., WR): 44 catches for 605 yards, 2 TDs
Brock Dagel (Sr., OL): 15 career starts
Quenton Bundrage (Sr., WR): 48 catches and nine TDs in 2013 (missed 2014 due to injury)
Kamari Cotton-Moya (So., FS): 77 tackles, 8 PBU, Freshman All-American
Nigel Tribune (Jr., CB): 64 tackles, 13 PBU, 3 INT, second team all-conference

Key Stat
The Cyclones were ravaged by injuries in 2014 as only four players started every game. Couple the injuries with depth issues and it was impossible for Iowa State to remain competitive in the powerful Big 12 Conference.

Key Early Games
Sept. 5 vs. Northern Iowa (6 p.m. CT, TV TBA):
Iowa State gets a tough challenge in their season opener as FCS Northern Iowa would love to upstate its in-state rival while the Cyclones are trying to get back on track after a host of injuries in 2014. The Cyclones have lost their last two home openers, both to FCS teams, including Northern Iowa in 2013.

Sept. 12 vs. Iowa (2:30 p.m. CT, Fox): The Cyclones have struggled with turnovers in recent years against their archrival, but last year, Iowa State erased a 14-3 halftime deficit, winning the game on a 42-yard field goal with two seconds remaining on the clock.

Senior Spotlight
Quenton Bundrage (@QuoteOnKwote ) followed up a sophomore campaign in which he had 48 catches for 676 yards by turning in a sensational junior season in 2013, collecting nine touchdown catches. Last year, he entered the season as one of the Cyclones’ top candidates for postseason honors; instead he tore his ACL in the first quarter of the season opener, missing the entire year. The Palmetto, Fla., product returns for 2015, giving Iowa State one of the top receiving corps in the Big 12. Head coach Paul Rhodes is very happy to have the senior back on the field. “”He’s provided leadership. He’s playing hard. There’s no limp to him. Nothing about the knee that is slowing him down,” Rhoads said. “He’s very focused … his mindset is right.” Bundrage is joined at receiver by 6-6 junior D’Vario Montgomery and 6-5 sophomore Allen Lazard. In addition, for the first time, they have a standout returning quarterback in Sam B. Richardson. “If we step our games up and we’re all on the same level and the same page then we can be big in this conference,” Bundrage said.

YouTube Cyclones
Iowa State junior defensive end Mitchell Meyers, who was diagnosed early this year with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had his final chemotherapy treatment on July 24. After 12 rounds of treatment, the hospital gave him a celebration, but the highlight was his cheering teammates surprising him as well. Meyers plans to return to the football field for the Cyclones, hopefully for the 2016 season.