An ongoing state investigation into illegal sports gambling by college athletes has left the Iowa State depth chart looking dramatically different entering Saturday's season opener against visiting Northern Iowa in Ames.
With likely starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers part of the probe, the Cyclones may offer multiple looks under center as they try to stretch their winning streak against the Panthers to four.
Rocco Becht and J.J. Kohl competed for the starting role during camp, but a true No. 1 has not yet emerged.
"Throughout the week will probably help decide that," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "I would expect that you're certainly going to see both Rocco and J.J., and maybe even some opportunities for Tanner (Hughes)."
Aiming to regroup following a 4-8 season, the Cyclones will offer multiple new looks, including at running back. The program will attempt to replace would-be returning rusher Jirehl Brock, who was charged in the gambling investigation and has left the program.
The Panthers figure to go as redshirt senior quarterback Theo Day does. Day was the class of the Missouri Valley Conference at the position in 2022, leading the league with 3,121 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air, while also ranking first in pass efficiency, total offense and yards per attempt.
"For us, it presents a great challenge out of the gate," Campbell said. "One of the better quarterbacks that I've seen in a while."
Northern Iowa needed to replace four starters on its offensive line. Jared Penning, the position group's lone holdover, shifted to left tackle. The rest of the unit includes Iowa transfer Josh Volk at right guard and Chase Arends at center.
"Chase is in the right spot to help neutralize some of the communication errors that might happen and Jared is in the right spot because of the talent that he has," Panthers coach Mark Farley said.
Farley enters one win shy of 175 career victories. He has guided the Panthers to wins against the Cyclones in 2007, 2013 and 2016.
--Field Level Media
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