The Iowa State defense allowed Ohio University 436 total offense in last week's game in Athens, Ohio. The Bobcats were able to pick up 297 yards rushing, but lost 12 for a net gain of 285 yards. The Bobcats added 151 more through the air for their lofty total. The Baylor Bears, however, will present the Iowa State defense with a type of offense they haven't seen in years, and won't see again this year.
Iowa State plays a 4-3 defense, just like the Bears. Last year, the defensive line of the Cyclones was imposing with the likes of DE Reggie Hayward, DT James Reed, NT Ryan Harklau, FS Dustin Avey, and CB Jamarcus Powers, but all of them were seniors and are not available this year. Returning from last season's defense are LDE Kevin DeRonde, DT Jordan Carstens, MLB Matt Word, SS Adam Runk, and CB Atif Austin. Although Atif Austin suffered a shoulder injury last week, he was expected back in time to play against the Bears. One player the Cyclones will miss was lost for the season to a torn ACL in one knee, reserve LB Chris Whitaker. This past weekend, in his absence, LB's Matt Word and Justin Eilers played the "middle" and "will" positions exclusively, respectively. Of the 22 players listed on last season's two deep, 12 graduated, and 5 more are unavailable, leaving only 5 on defense from last year's depth chart. One reserve LDE from last season, sophomore Casey Shelton is now a reserve at offensive right tackle.
Against this defense, the 0-3 Ohio Bobcats averaged 7.8 yards per play. The Cyclone defense sacked the Bobcat quarterback one time for a loss of six yards. The third down conversion rate of the Bobcats was 4 of 11, or 36.364%. The Cyclones did not intercept any passes by the Bobcats, but recovered one of two fumbles.
Depth is definitely a concern for the Cyclones. The starters look like this - three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores, and a redshirt freshman. The backups, however are two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores, two redshirt freshmen, and two true freshmen. It will be more than a little interesting to see how they hold up to the faster-paced offense of the Baylor Bears. Ohio ran 56 plays against the Iowa State defense last week. Baylor has averaged over 80 for the past two weeks.