By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Iowa State @ #22 Texas
11 a.m. on FOX Sports Net
Cyclone Radio Network
I’ve got one piece of bad and two items of good news for you today Cyclone fans. I’ll start with the bad. Let’s just get it out of the way. It isn’t likely that Iowa State’s two game skid will stop on Saturday when the Cyclones travel to Austin, Texas. The 22nd ranked Longhorns are fresh off of their biggest win of the season, a 20-13 whooping of Nebraska in Lincoln just a week ago.
The first piece of good news is that if you think back to a year ago from this weekend, Iowa State upset Nebraska in Lincoln with a backup quarterback and running back in the starting lineup. Here’s my favorite YouTube video of all-time to commemorate the moment.
How’s that for a warm fuzzy?
Here’s another, just to remind you that good things do happen to Iowa State football.
Can you please just smile now as I present to you, good news item number two and the ultimate silver lining?
After Saturday, Iowa State will be set to host the lousy Kansas Jayhawks on homecoming in Ames. This gauntlet of playing Utah, Oklahoma and Texas is nearly over fanatics. Crack open the bubbly for that fact.
Here are some other thoughts on tomorrow’s game.
IOWA STATE’S DEFENSE VS. TEXAS’ OFFENSE
Texas fans saw something that they weren’t used to last weekend. That was sophomore quarterback Garrett Gilbert running with the football. Garrett ran for 71 yards against the Cornhuskers.
“From what I had been hearing, that is what they’ve been trying to get him to do all along,” Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham told CycloneFanatic.com. “Now you have to assign someone to him. If they are running boots and zone-read plays like that, now you have to put somebody with the responsibility on him. It takes someone else out of what we are trying to do.”
In addition to the new rushing threat that Gilbert brings to the table, there’s also junior backs Cody Johnson and Foswhitt Whittaker to worry about. Both backs are averaging just over 40 yards per game for Texas’ 74th ranked rushing offense.
“Get as many people in the box as we can,” Burnham said. “You can’t get enough people in the box. You’re still going to have a hard time at times.”
“We feel good about that part of it as far as our plan. Now, can we go out there and physically match up with them? I don’t know. Hopefully we can enough times to hopefully win a football game.”
Remember that it is possible that two new faces will start on Iowa State’s defensive line tomorrow. We know that junior Jacob Lattimer will be one of them. He passed junior Patrick Neal on the depth chart earlier this week.
“Speed and toughness from Jake,” Burnham said. “If a guy is moving, if he is there, he is going to get a piece of him. You have got to punish those running backs and receivers. He is all out every snap.”
Senior defensive end Rashawn Parker dinged up his knee in the Oklahoma game. He will likely be limited against the Longhorns. Because of that, expect to see more of sophomore Roosevelt Maggitt.
“Rosie has that finesse speed, quick moving of his feet, that helps him make plays,” Burnham said. “They are two different types but they add something to our defense hopefully.”
Texas’ offensive numbers aren’t eye-popping. The Longhorns rank 81st nationally in total offense and 78th in scoring offense. But their big, physical, five-star offensive line will be tough for Iowa State’s depleted front-seven to handle. The Cyclones are currently ranked 112th nationally in total defense.
IOWA STATE’S OFFENSE VS. TEXAS’ DEFENSE
I think that most fans will agree with me when I write that I just want to see some life out of Iowa State’s offense tomorrow. I’m not expecting much. A couple of touchdowns would be great, but I don’t want to be too greedy.
This isn’t a good matchup for Iowa State. The Longhorns rank fourth nationally in total defense and they’re third against the pass. After being shutout last week, Iowa State’s offense is ranked 104th in the nation.
KEY CYCLONE STORYLINES
– Freshman punter Kirby Van Der Kamp has receiver my CF game ball two weeks in a row. Will this streak be stopped on Saturday?
– How does Jake Lattimer perform in his first start at defensive end for Iowa State? I am optimistic that this move will pay off for Paul Rhoads and his staff. Lattimer just appears to be a mean player with a serious attitude on the field. That’s something that the Cyclones have been lacking.
– I wrote this up above but it needs to be mentioned again. Will the Iowa State offense show a pulse against the Horns? This program and this fan base just need something to build on heading into next week in a very winnable game against Kansas.
– If the offense is going to wake up, the running game will have to improve immensely. Iowa State was one of the best in the Big 12 at running the football a season ago. Last week, the Cyclones ran for 59 yards against the Sooners. Iowa State is only averaging 140 rushing yards per game this season. The Cyclones averaged 180 per game and finished 2009 ranked 35th.
– Top to bottom, can the Cyclones stay competitive? That’s really all that anybody is asking for on Saturday.
Texas 38, Iowa State 13