Running game breaking through
Through the first five games of the season, the questions always came: What was going on with Iowa State's running game? The answer from Paul Rhoads was a mixture. Some of it was blocking, some of it was not getting through holes and some of it was stout defenses.
Against Toledo last week, there was improvement. Saturday, the question finally disappeared. Aaron Wimberly eclipsed the century mark with 110 yards on the ground and not once, but twice, set new season-highs for the longest carry by an Iowa State running back this season.
"It was [a matter of time]," Wimberly said. "Like I said, it all started in the film room and we all saw what we needed to do and the plays that needed to be made and the running backs had to execute what we had to do."
After rushing for 166 yards on 76 carries (2.3 yards per carry) in five games (he missed Toledo with a sore ankle), Wimberly rushed for 110 yards on 14 carries (7.9 yards per carry) in Saturday's 48-45 loss to Texas.
"He had a lot of space to run in on a good bit of those runs. That’s a big difference. Athletic backs with big space are going to make plays," Rhoads said. "Credit to our guys blocking and what they created, a credit to play calling and scheme to help with that and then he did the rest. He did what he’s very capable of doing when he got to those situations."
Bye week has Cyclones hopeful on injury front
There were few updates on injured players Monday during Rhoads' Big 12 teleconference, but the key bit appears to be that Iowa State is hopeful an extra week of rest will help those banged up players get back on the field at Jack Trice Stadium on Nov. 1 against Oklahoma.
Iowa State's interior defensive line depth took a hit when Brandon Jensen was injured during the first half of Saturday's loss. That's because Devlyn Cousin wasn't available to play. Rhoads revealed Monday that Cousin has an injured elbow. Jensen eventually returned in the second half and finished out the game.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Robby Garcia exited early with an undisclosed injury Saturday. Rhoads said the Cyclones, "expect he’ll play” given the extra week of rest, but said it's day-to-day.
The same goes for Jarvis West, who returned after missing the Toledo game with a left foot injury. He reinjured the foot during a punt return Saturday.