FB Notebook: Kingsbury's Numbers Have ISU on Alert

After watching Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury blister a perennially solid defense in Texas A&M last Saturday, Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney has good cause to be concerned. The Cyclones will face a Red Raider quarterback that's coming off arguably the best performance of his college career.

Kingsbury completed 49-of-59 passes for a school-record 474 yards and five touchdowns, rallying Tech to a 48-47 victory over the Aggies.

Through only six games, the red-hot Kingsbury has now thrown for 1,660 yards and 17 touchdowns on 151-of-240 completions.

"The way Kingsbury's been playing the last few weeks, he's playing with as much productivity, consistency and accuracy as any quarterback that I remember," said McCarney, whose 11th-ranked Cyclones host 4-2 Texas Tech on Saturday night at 6 p.m. "He's really something. He's got great height and can see over the defensive players rushing him. Kingsbury is just an unbelievable player and he's doing it every week. He's putting up huge numbers and is very accurate. And this is the best group of receivers on any one team that we've seen so far this year."

In its past three games, Tech's offensive attack is putting up numbers at a blistering pace. Against NC State, New Mexico and Texas A&M, the Red Raiders scored a combined 145 points and averaged 544.3 yards of total offense while going 2-1 in that stretch.

On the strength of the most recent run, Tech leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally with an average of 467 offensive yards per game.

What can ISU hope to do defensively against an opponent that's almost guaranteed to move the football? McCarney's squad will take a bend but don't break approach.

"They're going to move the ball and score some points," he said. "Nobody has shut them out or stopped them. Ohio State didn't stop them. They moved the ball on Ohio State and that's a fine football team.

"We've got to do all that we can to not give them a lot of breakouts. The thing that's scary is they've had a lot of big plays on six, seven, eight or 10-yard completions, with missed tackles and they're out of the gate. They have those kinds of athletes catching the football."

The clash of the Big 12's top two offenses will feature a battle of Heisman Trophy candidate quarterbacks in Seneca Wallace and Kingsbury. Wallace is currently ranked first in many online polls, including ESPN's, while Kingsbury is just now starting to garner more respect on a national stage.

McCarney isn't sure if he's seen a battle quite like this one in some time.

"I don't know if that's ever happened with two of them of that much quality," he said. "These are very different styles of quarterbacks, but they're both very effective and great leaders. These teams go as the quarterbacks go. It's not a one-man show for either team, but they lead their teams. That's obvious when you watch them play."

The problem with ACLs

Second-team defensive lineman Andy Leaders became the fourth Cyclone player to suffer a torn ACL this season. Leaders, who had played in five games and recorded one tackle, suffered the knee injury during practice last Friday and will be lost for the season.

Leaders joins linebacker Boyd Viers, offensive lineman Cory Wierson and defensive back T.J. Klith as players that have sustained torn ACLs since the start of preseason practice.

"This is our fourth (torn ACL) this year, which is real unusual," McCarney said. "We just haven't had many problems with it, but Boyd Viers went down in two-a-days. Cory Wierson and T.J. Klith went down about a month ago and have already had surgery. We've had four ACLs, which is a real concern. Two of them it was one-on-one and the other two situations there wasn't much contact. It can sure happen and they're freak injuries."

McCarney said he expects to have all four back in time for the start of spring practice next March.

Tech leads off start of brutal stretch

Although Nebraska was no pushover in a 36-14 victory at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 28, ISU starts the meat of its schedule on Saturday against Texas Tech.

After playing the high-flying Red Raiders, McCarney's squad will play four of its next five games on the road. All four road contests (Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State and Colorado) made bowl appearances last season and have at least been ranked at one time this season, with the Sooners and Longhorns currently occupying two of the top three spots in national polls.

The Cyclones are bringing a national ranking of 11th, which ties for the best in school history, and loads of national respect to this weekend's game.

"It's a great feeling," McCarney said. "But it's also midseason, so really that and 75 cents will get you a Mountain Dew out of that machine downstairs. It's still a sign of how far we've come. We've never been in the top 10 in school history and the last time we were 6-1 was 1907. That was 95 years ago. No ISU team has ever scored more than 30 points in seven straight games. The last time Iowa State was 3-0 in the conference was 53 years ago.

"Those are things that I share with this team—let's try and keep going places this school has never been. That's your legacy. There's not any one game that's any more important than the rest. We're going to do all that we can to keep it going."

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