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CRFF Opponent Previews: Iowa State

We continue our look at OSU's 2016 schedule. Up today, the Iowa State Cyclones.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Iowa State
Nov 14, 2015; Ames, IA, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback J.W. Walsh (4) breaks free to score in the fourth quarter against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Oklahoma State defeated Iowa State 35-31. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

We’re going to know a lot about where Oklahoma State stands by week six when the Pokes host Iowa State on Oct. 8.

The Cowboys will have played a solid Pittsburgh team, Baylor on the road, and Texas at home. The Longhorns have won eight straight at Boone Pickens Stadium, by the way. By the time week six rolls around, a bye week against Iowa State may be exactly what the Cowboys need heading into an actual bye week. Am I right?

The Cyclones will most likely come into their matchup with the Cowboys at 2-3, with losses against Iowa, TCU and Baylor. ISU is coming off a 3-9 season, where they finished second to last in the Big 12.

Dual threat quarterback Joel Lanning will be the starter at quarterback barring an injury. The junior passed for over 1,200 yards and had 10 touchdowns to four interceptions as a sophomore. He also had a little over 300 rushing yards and four scores on the ground.

That said, the only person giving this program hope for the future is Mike Warren. Warren is the real deal, and will be the best player in the conference not residing in Norman, Oklahoma. As a freshman last year, Warren rushed for 1,339 yards and five touchdowns.  The Cowboys shut him down in Ames last year, holding the freshman phenom to 77 yards and no scores. Warren was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, along with garnering First Team Freshman All-American by the USA Today in 2015. Warren was placed on the 2016 Doak Walker watch list awarded annually to the nation’s best running back.

Allen Lazard is the best receiver returning for the Cyclones, coming off an 808 yard receiving year with six touchdowns. Lazard had three receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown against Oklahoma State last season. Outside of Lazard, the Cyclones lost their next three best receivers to graduation, transfer and one to the Houston Texans.

If the Cowboys can contain the read option of Lanning and Warren, the secondary has plenty of experience and talent to contain the Iowa State receiving corps.

Iowa State had the 107th best total defense a year ago, giving up over 453 yards a game. The Cowboys gained 497 back on Nov. 14 in a 35-31 win. J.W. Walsh led the Cowboys back from 17 points down, thanks to a passing and rushing touchdown by The General in the fourth quarter.

Don’t expect any late game heroics to be necessary this time around. The Cowboys should dominate from the get-go, and hopefully improve to 6-0 with a bye week and Kansas upcoming the next two weeks.