Texas: Inside the Numbers

After a tenacious Iowa team rallied in the second half to win 27-17, the Cyclones are left at 2-1 for the season. Now, Iowa State has to head to Austin to face another 2-1 team, but how do they stack up? Check in here to read inside the numbers on the Cyclones' next gridiron foe.

How a team bounces back after a heart-breaking loss can determine how the rest of the season turns out.  Some teams crumble and some teams take it as a challenge.  How will the Cyclones react?  Honestly…I have no idea.  Only the players know, but I would bet that these guys are ready for the challenge.  It isn't like it has never entered their mind that they may lose to Iowa.  They know how to take a loss and will (hopefully) recover.  Now, does that mean they are going to win on Saturday?  That is another story completely but hopefully you will have a better feel for the outcome at the end of my breakdown.

         

 

First, I want to start with a few things I noticed about the game (good and bad):

1)       What is with the corner backs playing 10-12 yards off the ball?  No wonder Tate had 68.4% of his passes complete.  After a while, Iowa was like "why run the ball when I can pass it and get 5 yards every time?"

2)       Hicks is good when he is healthy. Scales ain't too shabby either.

3)       The defense really showed they have some attitude.  I like that and no longer feel they are a liability.  They are slowly becoming a strength

4)       I like the 4th call that Dan has but my question I pose is this: if your going to get risky and balls to the wall on us now Dan, why not do that with 1:22 on the clock at the end of the first half?  That was the time to punch Iowa in the mouth and say "we're here to win, not ‘not lose'".

5)       I don't know what happened in the locker room but it just seems like Iowa came out after half time and wanted it a lot more than ISU did.

Agree or disagree as you will but those are the few little tid-bits I took away from the game.  Now, on to the numbers!

 

Cyclones Statistical Breakdown

 

What kind of stats would these be if I didn't start out by saying that Bret Meyer is now the all-time career passing leader at Iowa State?  He gained 152 yards to put his career total at 5,391 yards, or 84 yards more than second place Alex Espinoza.  Meyer had another statistically solid game.  On top of his 152 passing yards and touchdown (to Blythe) he also had 74 rushing yards (4.9 yard average) and TD.  The only blemish (other than the obvious loss) was his percentage.  Meyer was a mere 15 or 31 or 48.38%.  Hicks continues to shine by gaining 73 yards on only 14 attempts!  At this rate, he will amass 1084 yards on the season (not including possible bowl game).  That would be a personal best.  On an upside, the rushing game is beating the output of the passing attack (171 rushing, 152 passing) but I doubt that is going to make anyone sleep any better at night.  Scales also got some decent carries, gaining 25 yards throughout the game.  The receivers are all getting some catches but no one beat the 50 yard mark (Blythe led with 45).  On the defense the linebacker position is starting to come on.  Alvin Bowen had a team high 15 tackles, with Adam Carper and Tyrone McKenzie both tying second with seven.  The biggest shocker is kick returns.  DeAndre Jackson had a great game, averaging 31.67 yards on three returns, with his longest being for 62 yards.

 

Up Next

 

Defending national champions….kind of scary, right?  Well, the Longhorns have a scary good team.  This year's team is currently ranked at seventh in the nation. The team is lead by a former Iowa State offensive coordinator Mack Brown.  Mack Brown was at ISU for 3 years, first as a wide receiver coach, then as an offensive coordinator.  He then moved to North Carolina and took a team that went 1-10 his first two years and turned them into a 10-3 team that made it to the Gator Bowl in just six years.  Coach Brown took over the University of Texas Longhorns after their 1997 season and has been 83-19 (81.37%) since.  Texas has owned Iowa State in this series, going 5-0.  In fact, the closest the Cyclones have come is losing in Ames in 1999 41-44.

 

Offense

           

The offense may not be as potent as last year's 13-0 squad, but that doesn't mean that they aren't good.  Colt McCoy takes over at the quarterback position for graduating senior Vince Young.  McCoy currently has a ranking of 159.5, which is good enough for third in the Big 12.  He has 456 yards, six TDs, and one pick so far on the season.  He is a red shirt freshman that has been pretty good so far, but had a very average game against Ohio State.  His main target thus far is junior Limas Sweed.  He has 164 receiving yards and three touchdowns.  The running back corps is the strong point of this team, putting up a staggering 238 yards per game (ranked first in the Big 12).  The top two running backs, Jamaal Charles and Selvin Young, average 6.7 and 6.3 yards per carry respectively (they both also have two TDs).  Why is this team so good at running?  Well, they return three of the five starting O-linemen from last year's team, including one of the best in the nation in senior offensive tackle Justin Blalock.

 

Defense

 

This defense is going to cause some opponents nightmares.  They have thus far allowed 203.7 yards per game, with the rushing yards per game averaging a ridiculous 25 yards.  Nobody doubts who the star of this defense is.  Strong safety Michael Griffin is leading the team with 28 tackles, with 16 of those being solo.  Oh yeah, and did I mention he has a twin?!  Yep, free safety Marcus Griffin is third on the team in tackles with 20.  The means the Griffin brothers account for 48 of the team's total 227 tackles (that is 21% folks!).  Talk about keeping it in the family.  If the Griffins are first and third, who is second?  Well that would be cornerback Aaron Ross (21 tackles).  Yep, you read that right, the top three tacklers on this team are all in the secondary.  That is pretty good, but that isn't all they got.  The d-line is returning three of four starters from last year, which means this d-line has 12 sacks under their collective belts from the previous year.  The main weapon on the line is Brian Robison who has seven sacks last year and already has two sacks this season.  The linebackers have been trying to replace the loss of All-American Aaron Harris and have been showing improvement.  They are a weak link right now but should turn into a strong spot by the end of the season due to Rashad Bobino (13 tackles) and Robert Killebrew (10 tackles) starting to step up.

 

Special Teams

 

The whole kicking game is handled by one man, Greg Johnson.  He is a senior averaging 43.7 yards per punt, 61.8 yards per kick-off (with seven touchbacks), and is a perfect 16-16 on PATS.  His only fault so far is 1-2 on field goals so far this year after missing a 45 yard FG against Ohio State wide right.  He is solid and has proven himself to be consistent in all aspects of his kicking game.  The punt return duties are handled by Aaron Ross who averages 14.6 yards after nine returns.  There have only been four kickoff returns but two of them were taken by Selvin Young, one for 14 and one for 40!  If he continues to field the kickoff return duties, expect some big gains and even a touchdown or two.

 

Final Verdict

 

Alrighty then…let's sum up.  The offense, while being led by a freshmen quarterback, is doing well.  The running backs have ran up and down everyone they have played (hey, 172 on Ohio State is still pretty impressive!)  Watch out for Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles because they are dangerous. The defense is tough, especially on the rush.  The big hitters on D are the Griffin twin at safeties, and boy, are they fun to watch.  The kicking duties are handled by one man, who has been consistent, so let's hope the game doesn't come down to a last second field goal.  All in all, this team really doesn't have any visible weakness, but then again they are the defending national champions.  There is a reason that they are ranked at seventh in the nation.  It isn't impossible for the Cyclones to come out on top in this one, but they have to play a near perfect game.  This is going to be Iowa State's biggest test yet, and probably biggest of the season.  I think it is time to see just how much of a "season of opportunity" this season really is.

 


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