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WILLIAMS BLOG: Iowa State looking forward to unique game at Akron

“What the crap?”

Let me guess … That’s what went through your mind when you saw “at Akron” on Iowa State’s 2017 football schedule (Sept. 16, 11 a.m. on CBS Sports Network).

I hear ya.

This is no doubt a very odd road game for a Big 12 program to be playing but Matt Campbell’s coaching staff is actually looking forward to it for multiple reasons.

Ohio is not only home, but right in the middle of their recruiting wheelhouse.

In his first two classes at Iowa State, Matt Campbell has signed 13 prospect from the states Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.

While Campbell wasn’t the coach when Iowa State scheduled this game, but playing in that part of the country will actually be a nice recruiting tool.

“It gives us some familiarity with what we are going into,” Campbell said. “We played there with a good Toledo team my second year there and lost at the end of the season.”

Toledo, where the majority of Iowa State’s current staff came from, is only 138 miles west of Akron.

The Zips, who Phil Steele recently picked to finish third in the MAC East, are coached by a guy most college football fans know – Terry Bowden. Steele notably also tabs Akron as the third most experienced team in the MAC for 2017.

“I’ve coached against Coach Bowden and knowing him – he always finds good players from somewhere, somehow,” Campbell said. “Playing them early, you are getting all of those players. It will be a unique challenge against a team with a veteran quarterback. They always play good defense. We know what we are getting into though so that is a positive.”

Earlier this week, the MAC’s media picked Akron to finish 4th in the East. 

“I do look forward to it but the negative aspect is that we are all so close to our families,” Campbell said. “Sometimes that can be a distraction for the coaches but having the opportunity to go into an area where recruiting is so paramanout and have the opportunity to go play will be good for all of us.”

Akron went 5-7 (3-5) last year. The Zips will notably play at Penn State in week one, two weeks before meeting up with the Cyclones.