Warren Runs Into the Record Books
For as long as Iowa State has searched for its rushing attack in recent seasons, the emergence of redshirt freshman running back Mike Warren has been a welcome sign for the Iowa State offense in recent weeks.
Saturday, Warren continued that emergence.
The freshman back, in his fourth-career game and second-career start, rushed for an Iowa State freshman single-game record 175 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries Saturday in the Cyclones' 38-13 win against Kansas. Warren, who rushed for 128 yards against Toledo, became the first freshman running back in ISU history and the first since Aaron Wimberly in 2013, to rush for 100-plus yards in consecutive games.
In four games, Warren has rushed for 331 yards on 48 carries (6.9 yards per carry) to lead the Iowa State rushing attack.
The Sacks Keep Coming
Much has been made about Iowa State's lack of pressure last season, a year in which the Iowa State defense racked up 15 lone sacks in 12 games.
That talk has now become a thing of the past. Iowa State added five sacks to its 2015 total Saturday, giving it 14 through the first four games.
The Cyclones have been helped in large part because of their switch to the 3-4 defense which has allowed defenders to play more free. They have also been helped by defensive end Dale Pierson, who tallied his sixth sack of the season on Saturday.
Freshman linebacker Willie Harvey racked up his first two career sacks in Saturday's win while JUCO transfer Jhaustin Thomas recorded his first-career sack as well.
Finding the Tight Ends
Through the first three games of the 2015 season, Iowa State had gone away from using its tight ends in the passing game as the group tallied no receptions and were used largely to block, including in new double-tight formations.
Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson admitted he felt bad, and Saturday he got the group involved.
Richardson connected with tight end Justin Chandler on a 30-yard pass to push Iowa State deep into Kansas territory and also connected twice with tight end Ben Boesen, who finished with 12 yards.
"They got them incorporated, which was another challenge [for the staff] and we got that done probably more so than I would have thought by the time the game was over," coach Paul Rhoads said. "Not that folks haven’t been covering them, but you’ve got to drop the ball to them every now and then and make them respect them and not only respect them, we found production out of them. Those guys did a nice job catching the ball and I thought their effort after the catch was sensational as well."
Odds and Ends
- Iowa State was without starting cornerback Nigel Tribune on Saturday as the junior defensive back was suspended for a violation of Iowa State's code of conduct. The Cyclones started Jomal Wiltz in his place and Rhoads said Tribune will return to the field next weekend against Texas Tech.
- Sam Richardson moved to second all-time in Iowa State history for career touchdown passes (44) with his two touchdown passes in Saturday's win. Richardson is also the third ISU quarterback with 500 career completions (513).
- Receiver Quenton Bundrage became the 30th player in program history to pass 1,000 career yards (1,011).