Bama 'D' to face a dangerous Cyclone offense

With a big-time tailback and possibly the most dangerous QB Alabama has faced all season, the Iowa State Cyclones will be a handful for Carl Torbush and his still-developing Tide defense. <br><br>"They're a very good offensive football team," Torbush said. "The only losses they had this season were to four of the top teams in the country, so there's no doubt we're dealing with a very good team."

The Cyclones went 9-3 in 2000, capping that season with a 37-29 victory over Pittsburg in the Bowl. Iowa State's record this season stands at 7-4, but their losses came at the hands of two BCS teams (Nebraska and Colorado) and two other traditional powers (Texas A&M and Kansas State). "Obviously when you win nine games in (the Big 12) last year and seven this year, you've got a very good team," Torbush said.

Quarterback Seneca Wallace threw for 2,044 yards, averaging a 62.1 percent completion rate in earning Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year honors. (Cyclone Illustrated)

Iowa State is solid across the board on offense, but two athletes stand out statistically.

Ranking second in the Big 12 in total offense, junior quarterback Seneca Wallace (6-1, 184) has outstanding talent. "He's like trying to tackle the wind," said Nebraska defensive coordinator Craig Bohl, following their game this year. "He's got the agility of a guy like Eric Metcalf (NFL all-pro halfback and kick returner). Then you add in his ability to throw. He's got great presence, which is particularly unique for a first-year guy in a league like ours."

Tailback Ennis Haywood (5-11, 220) led the Big 12 in rushing as a junior with 1,237 yards. He finished third in that category as a senior, but his overall performance was good enough to earn him his second consecutive spot on the Big 12's all conference team.

"They've got a really good quarterback, and an outstanding running back," Torbush said. "Their wide receivers are very solid. They're a lot like Ole Miss', which is a compliment."

Lane Danielsen (6-0, 197, So) leads the Cyclones in receiving with 49 catches for 694 yards and four TDs. Senior Craig Campbell (5-11, 181) has 486 yards and two touchdowns on 31 receptions, averaging 15.7 yards per catch. Their tight end, Mike Banks (6-4, 253, Sr) has 23 receptions for the year.

Tailback Ennis Haywood has been all-conference in the tough Big 12 for two years running. (AllSport)

"They've got big, strong physical guys on their offensive line," Torbush continued. "With their offensive scheme they'll spread it around. They'll run some option. They run enough option to keep you honest. They're going to make sure that if you don't have things taken care of, then they'll pitch it out there."

Iowa State is averaging more than 384 yards of offense per game, 54th in the nation and fifth in the Big 12. On the flip side, Alabama gave up slightly more than 361 yards per game. "They remind me of us in a lot of ways as far as the multiplicity of what they have in their offensive scheme," Torbush said. "They're a really good offensive football team. They can hurt you in a lot of ways. We're going to have to play very well to beat them."

Quarterback Seneca Wallace threw for 2,044 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he was also the Cyclone's second-leading rusher with 663 yards on the positive side of the ledger. Senior tailback Ennis Haywood finished his collegiate career with 2,862 rushing yards, good enough for fourth on the all-time Iowa State list.

"If we're going to win the ball game, we're going to have to do a good job of tackling the quarterback--not letting him have yards after sack opportunities," Torbush said. "And we'll have to do a good job being physical against their running back."

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