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):
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?"
Hicks is good when he is healthy.
Scales ain't too shabby either.
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
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'".
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.