Oklahoma State welcomes the Cyclones of Ames to Stillwater this Saturday for an afternoon showdown. The two teams look to continue, what has been the past few years, an interesting series of which Oklahoma State has won the past six meetings.
Head coach Matt Campbell is in his third year with Iowa State, and while this season has been a little disappointing compared to 2017, don’t let their 1-3 record fool you into thinking this is just the ISU of old again.
We reached out to our SBNation brethren Wide Ride Natty Light to get some details on this year’s squad. Thankfully, Jared Larson was kind enough to respond with some answers!
We talk run defense, the Iowa State passing game, and Jared makes his prediction for the game.
Phillip Slavin: Under Matt Campbell, Iowa State has been one of the better defensive teams in the Big 12. This year, they’re great at slowing down the run. What makes them so effective?
Jared Larson: “As the broadcasters said during the broadcast against TCU, DC Jon Heacock is a “doctor of defense”. Ray Lima, JaQuan Bailey, Mike Rose, Willie Harvey and Greg Eisworth(leads the team with 38 tackles) all play a big part in stuffing the run. JaQuan Bailey will be the leading sack master at Iowa State following this season. Also, I’m sure you all have seen #76, but keep an eye on one-time Ball State commit Mike Rose, the freshman is poised to be maybe one of the best ever at linebacker for Iowa State. Which is amazing, considering we’ve had the likes of Matt Blair, Chris Washington, Tim Dobbins, Jeremiah George and Joel Lanning.”
PS: Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 and is No. 25 Nationally in stopping the run. Against the pass though, OSU is 9th in the Big 12 and 104th in the nation. How can Iowa State utilize the pass to try and beat OSU?
JL: “Throw it to Hakeem “The Dream” Butler. Looking at your 2-deep, everyone is right around the 6’ threshold. I’m not trying to disparage smaller players from being cornerbacks or safeties (love you Brian Peavy), but when your Todd Blythe-esque receiver is 6’6” (and we have receivers that are 6’7”), just chuck it up there, as there isn’t anybody taller than he. Except for Chase Allen, Dylan Soehner and Charlie Kolar.”
PS: David Montgomery is day-to-day. If he doesn’t play or isn’t 100%, what can OSU expect from the other ISU running backs?
JL: “Johnnie Lang is a really shifty back for us, Sheldon Croney has filled David’s void with success last season (especially during the Kansas State game that didn’t exist), and Mike Warren has been nowhere near his 2015 output of 1,339 yards, but he has played a key role and has truly stayed the course as to what it means to be a Cyclone.”
PS: Let’s say ISU wins this game on Saturday. What did they do that helped get them the W?
JL: “The running back I didn’t mention, Kene Nwangwu, is the fastest guy on the team. I expect him to pull out his best Leonard Johnson in 2008 impression (still an NCAA record), that or he’ll look like Dexter Green in 1978. He’s capable of either. The other reality is, we need to keep our defense stifling as always, winning the turnover margin is nice, but if it doesn’t result in a win, then it’s not nice.”
JL: “Iowa State 35 - #25/21 Oklahoma State 30 for our first win in Stillwater since (gulp!) 2000.”