The Cyclones certainly put up a much better fight against Baylor on Saturday than last season’s 71-7 routing. But, things still weren’t exactly pretty. An offense ‘based on the run game’ has not had a running back tally over 38 yards in a game all season. In fact, quarterback, Sam Richardson leads the team in rushing by nearly 100 yards. Mix that with trying to trade shots against one of the highest-powered offenses in the nation, and you’ve got a recipe for a loss. The ground game has not only been plaguing Iowa State on offense thus far– the Cyclones have allowed a whopping 226.8 yards a game (11th most in the nation).
So, what do you tell your squad if you’re coach Paul Rhoads heading into a matchup this weekend with another Big 12 juggernaut in Oklahoma State? Look at the positives– this is probably the toughest stretch in this year’s schedule, you’ve got homecoming against Toledo next week, and you’ve shown glimpses of potential on both sides of the ball and looked much better than last year.
Never count the Cyclones out of a game. But, going into Boone Pickens Stadium and shocking a very young, but talented, Oklahoma State team, seems like a stretch. One of the x-factor’s will be ISU’s run defense against Desmond Roland, who put up video game-like numbers (219 yards, 4 touchdowns) in last year’s 58-27 Cowboy beat down. On the other side side, it’ll be interesting to see if offensive coordinator, Mark Mangino, draws up some more pass plays. With the run game looking stagnant and a talented and deep receiving corps of Allen Lazard, Jarvis West, and EJ Bibbs, I’d like to see the “Mangenius” spread the field out a bit more and take some more risks.
There’s still much work needed to be done in Ames, but hopefully for Iowa State fans this tough early schedule has been a learning process and their team will be able to pick up some W’s starting with next week’s homecoming game.