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Breaking down the Cyclones (by: Lukus Alderman)

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Matchup Ratings





Like most offenses Texas has faced, Iowa State runs a shotgun, no-huddle offense. Coached by former Oklahoma OC and Kansas HC Mark Mangino, the Iowa State offense runs out of various shotgun sets, including two back, single back, pistol and offset FB/TE.

(Two-back formation)

(Single-back formation)

(Pistol formation)

The ISU offense is similar to that of OU and Baylor in that it gets quickly to the line and plays are called from the sidelines as the offense lines up.

When the Cyclones run, they favor a zone or zone read rushing play. The ISU QB, Sam Richardson, likes to keep the defense honest as he often will pull the ball and run, evidenced by the fact that he is the leading rusher with 283 yards on 71 carries.

When ISU passes, Richardson spreads the ball around to several players, not necessarily having a go-to receiver. The Cyclones are effective in the red zone when targeting TE EJ Bibbs as he uses his size and soft-hands to his advantage over covering LB's and safeties.

Richardson, has very good pocket presence and escapability from oncoming rushers. He throws the ball well when out of the pocket and isn't afraid to pass into tight coverage.

Other notes:

- ISU likes to pass out of play-action. They also use a lot of pre-snap audibles by Richardson to change plays.

- Even with their 37 point performance against Toledo last week, Iowa State still ranks 110th nationally in Total Offense with 337.3 yards per game.

- The Cyclones are a poor rushing team, averaging only 106.8 rushing ypg to go with a total of only 6 rushing TD's on the season.

- Iowa State does a good job of protecting the football as they’ve only lost one fumble and thrown four interceptions.

Iowa State’s defense may be one of the worst (statistically) that Texas will face this season, specifically against the rush. The Cyclones run a basic 4-3 defense, and the DB's provide a big cushion to the receivers prior to the snap. Their cushion allows for short passes to be completed, but helps to prevent WR's from burning past the secondary for deep passes.

(4-3 defense with at least 8 yard cushion on WRs)

The ISU defense has had a difficult time against rushing attacks, as they surrender 212 yards per game on the ground along with a total of 20 rushing TD's. When facing zone-read plays, the DE's/LB's have often had a difficult time sticking with their assignments which has allowed opposing QB's to perform well on the ground.

Other Notes:

- ISU has allowed scores in 26 of 27 red zone tries.

- While Iowa State is very good at protecting the ball, they are very poor at creating turnovers - they rank 116th with a total of five takeaways (1 fumble recover and 4 interceptions).
- The Cyclones only give up 234 yards per game in the air, but have recorded just 10 sacks this season.<br><br>

Iowa State has a very good field goal kicker, Cole Netten, who is 100% this year on field goals (7/7 with a long of 47 yards). In 33 punts, the Cyclones have averaged 40.30 yards (20th nationally) and have not recorded a touchback.

The Cyclones are average on punt and kick returns, but have only given up one long kick return this year (Oklahoma State).

Texas QB/WR/TE's v. ISU DB's:

Last week Texas’ Swoopes showed what he’s capable of when he’s on his game. This week, the Longhorns’ passing game has a very good matchup in terms of the type of their desired style of passing game. Regardless of the fact that ISU only gives up 234 yards through the air per game, Swoopes has an opportunity to find open receivers early and often with the big cushion that the Cyclones give to receivers.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpgtn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpg

Texas RB's v. ISU LB's:

Texas’ running game improved drastically last week against Oklahoma due to improved OL play and an increased dose of Swoopes rushing. The Cyclones have shown an inability to shut down the opposition’s rushing attack week in and week out. If there is any game that the Longhorns should dominate on the ground, this is it.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpgtn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpg

Texas OL v. ISU DL:

The Longhorn O-Line played better last week with the insertion of Taylor Doyle into the lineup at Center. This week, Texas will be facing a 4-3 lineup without a nose so we may see more of Raulerson, along with Doyle. Regardless of that, the ISU D-Line has had difficulty matching up with opposing linemen, failing to consistently apply pressure and stop the run. Texas should fare well in the matchup in the trenches, but the performance will be determined based upon how the line does in regards to penalties and mental mistakes.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpg

Texas DB's v. ISU QB/WR/TE:

The Cyclones have a very effective QB in Sam Richardson, who protects the ball well and isn’t afraid to throw to his big receivers. ISU also has one of the top TE's in college football in EJ Bibbs, who is very effective in the red-zone. Texas has done very well against the pass over the course of the first half of the season, but they will be without starting Freshman Safety Jason Hall. The Longhorns need the secondary to play their assignments correctly and not allow ISU pass catchers to use their size as an advantage.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpg

Texas LB's v. ISU RB's:

The Iowa State rushing game has been very poor throughout the season, only aided by the rushing attack of the QB. Texas has also had their issues slowing down rushing attacks of opposing teams in the first half of the season. Texas’ LB's have played well recently and shouldn’t have an issue stopping the rushing attack of the Cyclones, but they will need to maintain assignments on zone-read plays and provide assistance in the passing game against ISU’s big receivers and tight end.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpgtn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpg

Texas DL v. ISU OL:

The Cyclones have had difficulty against opposing defensive lines all season long. The ISU O-Line has a difficult time rushing the ball for positive yardage, and has also given up 13 sacks on the year (75th nationally). Texas comes in with one of the top DL units in the country, so expect this game to revolve on how well the line pushes the pocket and how well the DE's stick to assignments in the zone game.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpgtn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpgtn_gallery_6706_2_4239.jpg

Special Teams:

The Longhorns have had problems with special teams all season long. Whether it is missing kicks, having kicks blocked, returns for TD's or committing penalties, the ST's have been a major reason why Texas is 2-4 instead of 3-3 or 4-2. Until the Longhorns show improvents, they won’t be anywhere close to an advantage in this area.

Advantage: tn_gallery_6706_2_10077.jpgtn_gallery_6706_2_10077.jpg

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You hit the nail on the head regarding the defense, Lukus.  This game provides a great opportunity for J. Gray to have a big game.  The Cyclones have a really bad rushing defense and Malcolm Brown and Gray should be able to take advantage of this for big yards.  This will be a ground & pound all night long.

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