INSIDE SLANT: Iowa State

Get the latest inside news on Texas Tech's opponent, Iowa State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12), and who is making noise on defense for the Cyclones this season.

INSIDE SLANT

AMES, Iowa — The Iowa State coaching staff knew it had a player from the moment linebacker Jake Knott stepped foot on campus. Now the rest of the Big 12 Conference is beginning to find out.

Knott, a sophomore, earned Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording 11 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble against Northern Iowa. Knott made big plays through the first four games with 35 tackles and three interceptions.

"You put up those kinds of numbers in a shutout win and I hope you would gain some recognition and I'm pleased that the Big 12 office has honored him as such a player," ISU head coach Paul Rhoads said. "He's been consistent with his tackle numbers."

The Cyclones needed Knott to step up this season after losing all three starting linebackers from a year ago. Knott, who's playing weak-side linebacker, has been around the ball all season.

"His speed and his hustle have been tremendous through four games," Rhoads said.

Knott could be in a position to pick off a few more passes this week when Texas Tech comes to Ames, Iowa. Even though Mike Leach is no longer the coach, the Red Raiders are still throwing the ball.

Quarterback Taylor Potts is fourth in the Big 12, averaging 270.0 yards a game. He's thrown eight touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Knott isn't too worried about replicating the performance that earned him conference honors. He just wants to help the Cyclones pick up their first Big 12 win of the season.

"I just want to do my job every single time," Knott said. "If they happen to run the ball my way or throw the ball my way I'll make sure I'm the one to make a play." 

NOTES, QUOTES

— Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads won't name a starter for the Texas Tech game, but he does anticipate starting quarterback Austen Arnaud will get the call. Arnaud re-aggravated a bruised left shoulder against Northern Iowa and only played one series.

— The Cyclones lead the Big 12 in red-zone defense, allowing points on only 58 percent of drives where opponents get inside the ISU 20-yard line.

— ISU hasn't beat Texas Tech since 2002 — its only win.

SERIES HISTORY: Texas Tech leads Iowa State 7-1 (last meeting, 2007, 42-17, Texas Tech).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Iowa State got its rush game back on track last week against UNI. Alexander Robinson averaged 4.9 yards a carry. Now, the Cyclones need the passing game to get on track, but it will have be aware of a potent Texas Tech pass rush, which is fourth in the nation averaging four sacks a game.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: ISU now needs to replicate what it did in its 27-0 win over UNI - forcing five turnovers, tackling soundly — against a Big 12 opponent. Look for Texas Tech to throw the ball even though the Cyclones have struggled at times against the run. The Red Raiders are last in the conference averaging 70 rushing yards.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I anticipate that Austen will be out there with the first team when we take the field." — ISU coach Paul Rhoads.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Texas Tech at Iowa State, Oct. 2 — ISU (2-2, 0-1 Big 12 Conference) won't name a starting quarterback before the game. It doesn't matter if Austen Arnaud or Jerome Tiller starts if the Cyclones can't get more big plays out of their passing game.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

CB Jeremy Reeves — He sees more playing time each week and is producing. He had a 94-yard interception return for a touchdown last week.

QB Austen Arnaud — He's expected to start and the Cyclones need more production from their quarterback if they're to contend in Big 12 games.

DT Stephen Ruempolhamer — He's spending more time in the opponent's backfield as the year goes on. He had one sack and one tackle for loss a week ago.

ROSTER REPORT

— DT Bailey Johnson (left foot injury) has missed the last two games, but the Cyclones will push Johnson this week to try to get him on the field.

— QB Austen Arnaud re-injured his bruised left shoulder against Northern Iowa, but he is practicing this week.

— CB Anthony Young had a career-high, nine tackles last week and should be in line for more playing time this week against Texas Tech. 

 


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