Record: 3-3 (1-1 Big 12)
We heard all about Iowa State's extraordinarily difficult schedule all offseason, and through six games, it's gotten the best of them. Now, it gets really difficult. The Cyclones play at No. 6 Oklahoma and Texas the next two weeks before hosting No. 5 Nebraska on Nov. 6, plus a game against No. 21 Missouri. The Cyclones snatched a victory from Texas Tech in Ames two weeks ago, and nearly beat Kansas State in Kansas City, but at 3-3, Iowa State now has to beat Colorado, Kansas and find a win from one of the aforementioned difficult games on the way to qualify for a bowl game. To do it, they'll have to fix a defense that gave up 38 points to Texas Tech last week and 68 against Utah on Saturday. Quarterback Austen Arnaud and running back Alexander Robinson have had to play through injuries, but replacements Jerome Tiller and Shontrelle Johnson have filled in well and helped the Cyclones to a 3-3 start.
Offensive MVP: RB Alexander Robinson – Even with some missed time, Robinson has 449 yards rushing on 88 carries, better than five yards a touch. He's scored touchdowns in each of his last three games, and as you'd expect, when Robinson is at his best, so is Iowa State. He amassed 200 yards rushing and three touchdowns on just 31 carries in the Cyclones' two best wins, Northern Illinois and Texas Tech. Tight end Collin Franklin is also worth mentioning in this space, after catching 10 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games.
Defensive MVP: LB A.J. Klein – A first-year starter, Klein has been the team's most consistent defender and also its biggest playmaker. The sophomore and first-year starter has 62 tackles--most in the Big 12--and has two of the biggest plays of the season for the Cyclones. In consecutive weeks against Kansas State and Northern Iowa, he intercepted passes and returned them for touchdowns, including a 69-yarder against Kansas State. He also had an interception against Texas Tech. He's also made 4.5 tackles for loss and has a fumble recovery.