Head Coach Matt Campbell
Matt Campbell, who has an amazing championship pedigree as both a player and coach, was named head football coach at Iowa State University on Nov. 29, 2015.
Campbell initiated his rebuilding plan and laid the foundation of future success in his first season as the head man at Iowa State in 2016.
He implored his team to “Trust The Process,” and in year two of the Campbell era, it paid major dividends.
Campbell’s recent two-year run has caught the nation’s attention with their drastic improvement, placing Iowa State football into the national rankings and the college football spotlight.
Campbell has led the Cyclones to back-to-back eight-win seasons, tying for the best two-year winning stretch (16 games) in school history.
Campbell, who was named Big 12 Coach of the Year and the AFCA Region 4 top coach in back-to-back seasons (2017, 2018), got the Cyclones bowling and in the national rankings for the second-straight season, cementing the Iowa State program as a player nationally.
At Iowa State
The 2018 Iowa State football team once again captured the imagination of college football fans by proving the 2017 campaign wasn’t a fluke.
Despite a 1-3 beginning to the season, Campbell kept the Cyclones on the right path by making an amazing turnaround with a five-game winning streak, the best single-season conference victory string in school history.
The streak began with a victory at No. 25 Oklahoma State (48-42) and was followed by a dominating win over No. 6 West Virginia (30-14), holding the high-powered Mountaineers to 152 yards of total offense, their lowest total since 1995.
The Cyclones broke the school record for most conference wins in a season (six) and improved to 5-4 vs. ranked opponents over the last two seasons. ISU also proved to be a tough out at home, ending the season on a six-game winning streak at MidAmerican Energy Field at Jack Trice Stadium, tying the school record (six) for most season victories in the stadium.
Iowa State wrapped up its second-straight bowl berth with a spot in the Valero Alamo Bowl, finishing the regular season with an 8-4 mark and tying for third in the Big 12 standings (6-3), its highest finish in 40 years.
The Cyclones appeared in all six College Football Playoff rankings behind a stingy defense and a true freshman quarterback named Brock Purdy.
Iowa State led the Big 12 in scoring defense (22.9) and rushing defense (115.0), holding all but two teams to below their season scoring average.
Purdy took over signal-calling duties in the fifth game of the season, promptly leading the Cyclones to five-straight victories and igniting the offense. Purdy had help from All-Americans David Montgomery (RB) and Hakeem Butler (WR), who both tallied over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, the first time in school history the Cyclones had a 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-receiver in the same season.
Butler shattered the school record for receiving yards in a season with 1,318 yards and was named a Second-Team All-American by The Athletic.
Purdy set school records in passing efficiency (169.9) and completion percentage (66.4), and tossed 16 touchdown passes.
The 2017 Iowa State football season will go down as one of its best in recent history thanks to Campbell’s coaching efforts.
Picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 Conference, the Cyclones capped off their outstanding 2017 campaign with a victory in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl over Memphis, just the fourth bowl win in the history of the program.
Iowa State surged into AP Top-25 poll for the first time since 2005 thanks to a perfect 4-0 mark in the month of October where it defeated two top-5 teams in Oklahoma and TCU.
Prior to the season, Iowa State was 1-56-2 all-time vs. teams ranked in the top-5 of the AP poll, tripling its all-time career total.
The victory over Oklahoma (38-31) in Norman was Iowa State’s first-ever win over a top-5 opponent on the road and one of the school’s signature triumphs. Iowa State followed up the OU win with a 14-7 victory over No. 4 TCU three weeks later, helping the Cyclones garner their first-ever appearance in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Iowa State finished the 2017 season with an 8-5 overall record and an upper-half finish in the Big 12 at 5-4.
Three of ISU’s wins were against ranked opponents (Oklahoma, TCU, Memphis) and five were on the road, breaking or equaling school marks in both categories.
Campbell perfected a mix of an opportunistic offense and a stingy defense for the success in 2017. ISU scored over 40 points five times during the season, tying the school record for 40-point games in a season, and set a school record in passing offense, averaging 272.9 yards per game.
Defensively, the Cyclones posted historic numbers, ranking in the top-30 nationally in scoring defense (26th, 20.9) and turnover margin (16th, +10). Iowa State was second in the Big 12 (league games only) in scoring defense (18.9) and total defense (357.2), holding nine of 10 conference opponents to at least 10 points below their season average.
The Cyclones broke school marks in fewest turnovers and fewest fumbles lost in a season, going nearly the entire year before losing their first fumble, tying the NCAA FBS all-time record along the way.
Campbell’s work with the Cyclones in his inaugural season proved he was the right man for the job.
Inheriting a program with depleted numbers on both sides of the ball, the Cyclones displayed gradual improvement throughout the season, as ISU compiled a 3-9 overall mark and a 2-7 record in Big 12 play.
The Iowa State offense thrived under Campbell’s leadership in 2016, posting impressive totals which rank high historically. The Cyclones recorded the fourth-best offense in school history in regards to yardage, averaging 421.6 yards per game.
Iowa State’s offense was balanced and efficient, boasting a 1,000-yard receiver in All-Big 12 performer Allen Lazard and a rushing attack which featured three players with 500+ yards on the ground, a first in school history.
In his three years at Iowa State, Campbell has mentored four players who have earned All-America honors, including Joel Lanning, who was a First-Team All-American linebacker by the FWAA in his only season playing the position in 2017.
Montgomery, Butler and Brian Peavy were also All-America selections under Campbell’s tutelage. Montgomery became just the third two-time All-American in school history with his 1,000-yard seasons in 2017 and 2018.
Campbell’s teams have annually produced historic victories. Campbell owns 33.3 percent (three) of Iowa State’s nine all-time wins over ranked opponents on the road.