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Iowa State football vs. UNI: 2023 season opener & live updates

Iowa State opens the 2023 college football season against Northern Iowa, with questions surrounding their starting quarterback and defensive line.

The long-awaited 2023 college football season is finally here for Iowa State fans, and they are kicking off the action with a home game against in-state rival, Northern Iowa. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, and fans are eagerly anticipating the start of what promises to be an exciting season for the Cyclones.

However, Iowa State won't have an easy matchup in their season opener. Northern Iowa's quarterback, Theo Day, has been impressive in his two seasons at UNI, throwing for a total of 5,437 yards and 42 touchdowns. Day has even caught the attention of NFL scouts, thanks to his strong arm and impressive stats. Despite throwing 17 interceptions in his career, Day has shown great potential and is considered an NFL-caliber quarterback by Iowa State's defensive coordinator, Jon Heacock.

On the other hand, there are still uncertainties surrounding Iowa State's starting quarterback. The competition is between redshirt freshman Rocco Becht and true freshman JJ Kohl. Becht saw some action last season, particularly in the season finale against TCU, where he completed 7-of-13 passes for 65 yards. Kohl, on the other hand, has yet to play a college game but comes highly regarded as a 4-star recruit and one of the top-20 quarterbacks in his recruiting class. The question remains: who will get the start against Northern Iowa on Saturday?

Iowa State recently released a depth chart, but it didn't provide much clarity on the expected starters at various positions. The word "or" appeared frequently, indicating that there are multiple players vying for the starting spot. For example, the depth chart listed both Becht and Kohl as potential starting quarterbacks. The running back position is even more perplexing, with five players listed as potential starters. With so many uncertainties, it seems like there are still more questions than answers for Iowa State.

However, Cyclones columnist Randy Peterson took a stab at predicting the starting lineup for Saturday's game. He believes that Becht will be the starting quarterback, while Cartevious Norton has the edge at running back. These predictions are based on his analysis of the team and the limited information available.

Despite the uncertainties, there is some good news for Iowa State. The secondary, in particular, looks promising with the return of several starters. Cornerback T.J. Tampa is expected to be a top NFL Draft pick, and Malik Verdon, who showed potential last season before being sidelined by injury, is eager to make an impact this year. Their presence will be crucial for Iowa State's defense, which will heavily rely on the secondary due to the inexperience in the front seven.

Speaking of the defense, there are questions surrounding the defensive line. Iowa State has seen success in recent years, thanks to the coaching of Matt Campbell, Jon Heacock, and defensive line coach Eli Rasheed. They have consistently produced standout players and have turned the defensive line into a position of strength. However, with a new group of starters this season, there are uncertainties about their ability to continue the success of their predecessors. Heacock remains confident in his coaching and the defensive schemes, but acknowledges that there will be a learning curve for the new starters.

Overall, the start of the 2023 college football season brings both excitement and uncertainty for Iowa State. Fans are eager to see how the team performs, particularly in their season opener against Northern Iowa. While there are still many questions surrounding the starting lineup and the performance of new players, there is hope that the Cyclones will continue to build on their recent success. As the season unfolds, fans will be eagerly following along for live updates and hoping for a successful season for their beloved team.

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