Press Coverage: Iowa State vs. TCU

Iowa State will continue its three-game stretch of facing the nation's top offenses when it hosts TCU in Ames on Saturday. Here's how running back Mike Warren could be a key to the game.

More Carries for Mike Warren?

As redshirt freshman running back Mike Warren has emerged in recent weeks, he has slowly but surely seen his workload increase.

He rushed 18 times for 128 yards against Toledo, 21 times for 175 yards against Kansas and 23 times for 245 yards against Texas Tech on Saturday.

How many carries can the young back handle?

“As much as [coach Paul Rhoads] needs me to,” Warren said Monday following his most recent performance. “I think I can probably have a few more carries throughout the game because I wasn’t really dinged up or anything.”

Warren’s 574 rushing yards through five games (three starts) has already helped him surge past the Iowa State freshman rushing record. He now holds the freshman record for consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games (three) and his 245 yards Saturday marked the first 200-yard game for the Cyclones since 2001. 

The Iowa State rookie has had the goal of being a 1,000-yard rusher when all is said and done, and he now finds himself just 426 yards shy with seven games remaining.

“Just being a 1,000 yard rusher would probably be a big achievement for this program not only for me but for the offensive line and my position coach as well,” Warren said. “Just achieving that mark this early on would be a great accomplishment.”

Still, later on Warren took a step back. 

“I know I said before I want to be a 1,000 yard rusher, but at this point I just want to win a few more games,” Warren said. “I don’t care if I get to 1,000 or not. It’s a team game. I’m not in it for individual stats or anything. 

Nonetheless, Warren does feel Iowa State could benefit from handing him the ball more frequently, especially against the likes of high-powered offense like TCU and Baylor, which the Cyclones will now face in consecutive weeks.

“It was pretty much learned from last game that we need to hold the ball longer and milk the clock even more, so I think my workload will increase,” Warren said. “I think that more carries would be beneficial for the offense just so we can probably stay in the game longer and up our time of possession against high-powered offenses.”

Iowa State Opens Kicking Battle

After Iowa State kicker Cole Netten missed another field goal Saturday — this one a 40-yard attempt — Paul Rhoads said the position would be up for grabs.

The Cyclones, in fact, sent Chris Francis out for a late field goal. Netten, who went 11-of-14 in 2014, including 9-of-10 on 20-to-39-yard attempts is just 7-of-12 through five games this season and 5-of-8 on 20-to-39-yard tries.

Is there really a battle though?

“He should be kicking come Saturday,” Rhoads admitted Monday. “Chris has improved, but as I stated after the game, his opportunity was a poor kick when he got out there and we went right back to Cole on the kickoff after that and he kicked the ball exceptionally well with his kickoffs. Cole should be the guy, but they will compete this week and we’ll chart everything.”

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