AMES, Iowa (AP) — The key to the upcoming season is clear for Iowa State.
The Cyclones defense will need to play much better than it did a year ago for the program to have any hope of escaping the Big 12 basement.
For all the talk about new coordinator Mark Mangino's revamped offense, it's Iowa State's defense that should be under the heaviest scrutiny. The Cyclones allowed 36 points a game last season — ranking 109th out of 125 Bowl Subdivision teams — and surrendered at least 41 points five times in nine league games.
Iowa State knows that can't happen again this season, which starts on Saturday at home against FCS power North Dakota State.