It's been a rough start to the year for Iowa State. They were absolutely pasted by NDSU, beat down by Kansas State, and obliterated by Baylor. A win over 4-1 Iowa in week 3 is the Cyclones only sign of life, but even that's a bit misleading. Iowa has yet to really play anyone of any caliber, and the Hawkeyes rank near last in several key statistics. This is not the year Iowa State pulls themselves out of the Big 12 basement.
Mark Mangino, the man that took Kansas to an Orange Bowl, is now Iowa State's Offensive Coordinator. That should scare a lot of people, but any hope the Cyclones had at quickly becoming more competitive has been dismissed. It's apparent there's quite a bit of work yet to do. They've shown spurts of playing something resembling solid football, but they're a long way off from putting it together for an entire game. Any worry of an Oklahoma State loss seems to be based more on Iowa State's reputation as an upset specialist, rather than the product on the field.
Going into this game Gundy is 4-2 against the Cyclones. Outside of his first year at the helm and one unexplainable catastrophe, the Pokes have dominated ISU under Gundy.
History would seem to favor the Pokes, and so does just about everything else.
Force Iowa State To Be One Dimensional
Iowa State Stat Leaders
Last week Texas Tech took advantage of some weaknesses in the Oklahoma State secondary. If it wasn't for a few dropped passes, the game could have been closer than it was. Iowa State's QB Sam Richardson, and wideouts Jarvis West and Allen Lazard, will look to capitalize where Tech couldn't, but that has more to do with their own inability to establish the run, than taking advantage of what they've seen on tape.
"You've got to run the ball and you got to defend the run if you're going to be successful, and we're not even scratching the surface at doing that. We're averaging just over a 100 yards running a game, and our quarterback - not by design - is our top runner.", Paul Rhoads said during his press conference preparing for Oklahoma State. "We've got to fix it."
It's hard to get much of anything going when you only average 3.38 yards per carry. The offensive line has been a weakness for Iowa State as it fails to get a push. Things won't get any easier against the Cowboys.
The line has been the strength of the Oklahoma State defense this season. Jimmy Bean, Emmanuel Ogbah, James Castleman, and Ofa Hautau have been dominant in the trenches. The Pokes won't have to send extra personnel in the box in order to contain what the Cyclones claim to be a rushing attack.
Stopping the run up front will be the key for Oklahoma State. It will allow the corners to play press on Iowa State's talented receivers, while the safeties won't have to worry about cheating up to plug holes like they did against Tech. They can sit back and let Iowa State come at them. Something they had a lot of success with against Florida State.
One thing to watch will be weather or not Ashton Lampkin can make it back to the lineup in time for kickoff. With two interceptions on the year he's already shown to be a force, but after suffering an ankle sprain against Texas Tech it's unclear if he will be healthy by Saturday.
If Lampkin is out, Iowa State will almost certainly try to go after his replacement, especially with Kevin Peterson lurking on the other side of the field. Ramon Richards has played well, but having to rely on a freshman is always a little nerve-racking.
Overall Oklahoma State has the superior talent, and sheer athleticism should carry the day.
"They run very well, very well as a defense." said Paul Rhoads.
All Out Assault
Oklahoma State Stat Leaders
"I think he's a very good football player that throws a very good deep ball. That's scary." Paul Rhoads said talking about Daxx Garman in his press conference.
Daxx throws an incredible deep ball, as we've seen time, and time, and time again.
"He's on pace to throw it deep more than anyone who's ever played in the history of this league - maybe in the history of college football." Mike Gundy at his press conference this week.
As pretty as Daxx's arm is, the receiving corp is the best unit on this Oklahoma State team. With guys like Jhajaun Seales, Marcell Ateman, Brandon Sheperd, and even the freshman James Washington that can go up and get it, why not play a little lob Stilly on turf? There's so much talent that as soon as anyone double and triple covers a receiver (not that daxx would care), it's only creating mismatches somewhere else for the Cowboys to exploit. Calling plays like you're playing NCAA on XBOX may be unconventional, but why not if it works?
Iowa State only concedes 7.22 yards per pass play on average though, and I expect the Cyclones are going to try and limit giving up the big play. Look for the Cowboys to take what they're given underneath, and work in more intermediate passes this week. Tyreek Hill could have a career day if they can dump the ball off to him in space, and don't be surprised to see the tight ends targeted a little more.
Oklahoma State should do better on the ground this week as well. Iowa State is giving up over 225 rushing yards per game. Roland could have another big day between the tackles, while Hill stretches the field to the outside. Tech put extra emphasis on stopping the run to atone for the embarrassment Arkansas put on them the game before. Iowa State may do the same since Desmond Roland steamrolled them last year, but I think Rhoads understands that if he does they'll get torched by Garman. If that's what they want though, I wouldn't complain.
The only thing that would have stopped this play is a pulled hammy. When Daxx puts the ball in the air the safety is running neck and neck with Tyreek. When Hill hauls it in he's put the safety almost 10 yards behind him. That's incredible. I would be okay if they just did that all day, every day.
With versatile backs, a canon of an arm QB, multiple wideout threats, and the fastest guy on the field, this offense is close to putting it all together. As the offensive line gets more experience this team could be more than dangerous.
Not So Special Teams
If Iowa State is going to keep things interesting it will be with special teams. Since Joe Deforest got swept away by Mr. Red Bull it's been an area of concern for the Cowboys. Texas Tech gashed OSU on kick returns throughout most of the game, but penalty flags kept them from costing the Pokes.
Iowa State is going to do more than just test this unit. They rank 9th in the country in special teams efficiency. They've already returned one punt for a touchdown this season, and allow less than two yards per return themselves. They might not do anything else on the field, but special teams they do well.
I like this matchup for OSU. Iowa State is too inept everywhere else to really put OSU on upset alert, but this is one area the Cowboys could use the challenge to get better.
Home Field Advantage
This was a key to last week's game as well, but it still holds serve. Don't believe me? Just ask Paul Rhodes.
"They're right on top of you" Paul Rhoads said. "You're talking to their fans as well as talking to your players when you're making adjustments. They're very active and involved in the game."
It's been 14 years since the Cyclones have won in Stillwater, and by this time next year it will be 15.
Here's a look at pretty comprehensive tale of the tape. What stat jumps out at you? Let us know in the comments.
|TALE OF |
|Oklahoma State||Iowa State|
|W-L Record (Conf.)||3-1 (1-0)||1-3 (0-2)|
|Head To Head Win %||.594||.406|
|Points Per Game (Rank)||39.8 (27th)||22.5 (102nd)|
|Points Allowed Per Game (Rank)||27.0 (76th)||33.0 (97th|
|F/+ Rating (Rank)||12.3% (25th)||1.2% (62nd)|
|FEI Rating (Rank)||0.174 (21st)||0.037 (59th)|
|S&P+ Rating (Rank)||223.3 (30th)||204.2 (59th)|
|Opponent Win Percentage||58.61%||70.24%|
|Strength Of Schedule Power Rating (Rank)||32.0 (21st)||39.1 (5th)|
|Home vs Away Power Rating (Rank)||H: 52.9 (16th)||A: 45.8 (28th)|
|AVG Time Of Possession||27:48||27:06|
|Penalty Yards Per Game||72.25||45.25|
|Offensive Efficiency (Rank)||.214 (43rd)||-.029 (64th)|
|Yards Per Game (Rank)||462.25 (43rd)||312.00 (116th)|
|Yards Per Play (Rank)||6.33 (40th)||4.77 (112th)|
|Passing Yards Per Game||290.50||208.00|
|Passing Yards Per Attempt||9.37||5.99|
|Pass Completion Percentage||55.65%||60.43%|
|Passing Touchdowns Per Game||2.25||1.50|
|Rushing Yards Per Game||171.75||104.00|
|Rush Yards Per Attempt||4.09||3.38|
|Rushing Touchdowns Per Game||1.00||4.00|
|1st Downs Per Game||22.50||18.50|
|3rd Down Conversion Percentage||41.94%||41.82|
|4th Down Conversion Percentage||50.00%||33.33%|
|Pick 6's Thrown||1||0|
|Sacks Given Up Per Game||2.25||2.25|
|Red Zone Points Per Attempt||4.94||6.13|
|Red Zone Scoring Percentage||94.12%||87.50%|
|Red Zone TD Scoring Percentage||52.94%||87.50%|
|Defensive Efficiency (Rank)||-.172 (50th)||.524 (113th)|
|Yards Allowed Per Game (Rank)||392.00 (67th)||463.25 (107th)|
|Yards Allowed Per Play (Rank)||5.34 (66th)||6.00 (98th)|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Game||279.00||236.50|
|Passing Yards Allowed Per Attempt||7.29||7.22|
|Opponent Pass Completion Percentage||60.78%||62.60%|
|Passing Touchdowns Allowed Per Game||2.00||0.25|
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game||113.00||226.75|
|Rush Yards Allowed Per Attempt||3.30||5.15|
|Rushing Touchdowns Allowed Per Game||1.00||4.00|
|1st Downs Allowed Per Game||21.5||24.00|
|Opponent 3rd Down Conversion Percentage||30.65%||45.16%|
|Opponent 4th Down Conversion Percentage||20.00%||75.00%|
|Interceptions Returned For A Touchdown||1||0|
|Team QB Sacks Per Game||3.25||1.75|
|Team Tackles For A Loss Per Game||7.75||4.00|
|Opponent Red Zone Points Per Attempt||3.79||5.77|
|Opponent Red Zone Scoring Percentage||78.57%||94.12%|
|Opponent Red Zone TD Scoring Percentage||35.71%||76.47%|
|Special Teams Efficiency (Rank)||.603 (51st)||3.153 (9th)|
|Field Goals Made Per Game||2.25||0.50|
|Field Goal Percentage||75.00%||100.00%|
|Extra Point Percentage||100.00%||100.00%|
|2-Point Conversion Percentage||-||-|
|Yards Per Punt||41.76||42.75|
|Punt Yards Per Return||9.42||29.25|
|Opponent Punt Yards Per Return||4.22||1.33|
|Punt Returns For A Touchdown||0||1|
|Punt Return Touchdowns Allowed||0||0|
|Yards Per Kickoff Return||19.43||17.46|
|Opponent Yards Per Kickoff Return||19.22||15.73|
|Kickoffs Returned For A Touchdown||0||0|
|Kickoff Return Touchdowns Allowed||0||0|
F/+, FEI, S&P+, Offensive Efficiency & Defensive Efficiency Stats Are Provided By FootballOutsiders.com
Strength of Schedule & Home vs Away Power Ratings Provided By TeamRankings.com