Cyclones’ bowl streak on the line in five-game stretch

Iowa State is in the midst of its best bowl streak in program history.

It might seem like a mediocre reward for a ‘decent’ season for some, but for a lot of Cyclone fans, it’s turned into a bookmark of every individual season the program has been through under Coach Matt Campbell.

That bookmark is a shiny one, filled with memories for fans that take a December vacation to whatever city ends up hosting the Cyclones and trucking in Busch Light. It gets better when it’s a bowl win.

That streak is on the line through Iowa State’s final five games, where the team must find a 3-2 record at worst to guarantee a bid into a postseason game for the sixth-straight year.

“I think if we want to be a team that that, again, gets back to winning football games with consistency, the biggest thing for us is the consistency of doing the things it takes to win football games,” Campbell said. ” You know, obviously, it’s taking care of the football on offense. It’s getting off the field on third down or critical down situations on defense. And obviously, it’s playing with consistency on special teams.”

Iowa State has shown glimpses of success in both offense and special teams, while faults arose in different weeks.

The only consistency has been shown in the defensive unit, which sits as No. 10 in the country allowing just 289.7 yards per game.

It just hasn’t been enough to bail the Cyclones out of games where mistakes effectively ended their last chance to win.

“No, I think the urgency is man, you’ve been so close,” Campbell said. “And you know, you literally have been right there pretty much every step of the way this season. And I think the urgency is the ability to get this thing to get over the hump and to make those plays in the moment. I think that the only way to do it is to continue to pound away at your craft, to continue to do everything in your power to, you know, have a sense of urgency about being the best version of yourself in the moment.”

That’s been a theme over the past seven seasons that Iowa State fans know all too well. It’s the theme that helped the team win 11-straight against conference opponents at Jack Trice Stadium, before the losses to Baylor and Kansas State, at least.

Iowa State is leaning on a bye week to get back to the spot where the program came into the season, in protecting its home field at Jack Trice Stadium.

If it can do that, the Cyclones will go bowling. If not, there’s a pair of road games against top 15 opponents standing in the way.

As for the bye week, Campbell and his staff hope to have a healthy pair of running backs in Jirehl Brock and Cartevious Norton returning to the field on Saturday.

Oklahoma gives up over 200 yards per game on the ground – a number that is in the bottom 10 schools at the FBS level.

Iowa State will find some success running the football on Saturday – more than it has seen in the four-game losing streak.

Will that be enough to start this stretch off on the right foot? That will go back to consistency.

“The hard part about it is the consistency of doing that within the game to win the game is where we have to be better,” Campbell said. “And what a great challenge for our group and what a great challenge for our team and, you know, one that we certainly have the ability to overcome. And, you know, that’ll be getting on display against a really good Oklahoma team this week.”

The bowl streak lies on consistency. Saturday – and more likely the result – will show if it’s improved.