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No. 7 Cyclones looking to be more polished right out of gate

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has high hopes for the season opener against Northern Iowa.

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State will be looking to get off to a fast start this season—which has been a problem in coach Matt Campbell's first five years. The Cyclones are 2-3 in openers under him.

"You almost felt like you were in such an awkward environment and setting and you know felt a little bit of in my own right of 'Boy I did a poor job of preparing my team for whatever this is,'" Campbell said Tuesday, reflecting on last year's 31-14 season-opening loss to Louisiana.

Northern Iowa is the opening opponent Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

The Panthers have been a traditional power in the Football Championship Subdivision. They played a spring season because of the pandemic and went 3-4. 

Campbell said that's deceiving because of the circumstances and he expects to get the Panthers' best shot. They've beaten Iowa State three times since 2007.

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WATCH: Full Matt Campbell press conference for Aug. 31, 2021