Photo Courtesy: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
This weekend, the Longhorns will take on the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa. Despite suffering several key losses due to a gambling scandal that was exposed in the summer, head coach Matt Campbell’s squad has been a pleasant surprise contender of the Big 12 Conference. Today, watch our Devon Messinger and Dylan DeRaud discuss what makes the Iowa State Cyclones who they are in the YouTube video above.
If you also want to watch their discussion surrounding this week’s news that Quinn Ewers is seriously considering a return to the Longhorns in 2024, simply click here.
Messinger’s Scouting Report of the ISU Offense:
Overall, Iowa State’s offense does not jump off the charts. However, the fact that the Cyclones have been at least middle-of-the-pack offensively is impressive as the loss of former starting quarterback Hunter Dekkers, who was suspended in the offseason for gambling, was expected to derail the team’s offensive production. Redshirt freshman Rocco Becht has done a solid job of stepping in at the quarterback position, passing for 2,121 yards, 15 TDs and 7 INTs this season.
In the receiving game, there are two key players to watch: 6’4″ junior wide receiver Jayden Higgins (35 receptions, 610 yards and 4 TDs) and 5’10” junior wide receiver Jaylin Noel (52 receptions, 536 yards and 4 TDs). Outside of those two, be on the lookout for 6’7″ freshman tight end Benjamin Brahmer, who has tallied 271 receiving yards and two touchdowns to this point in the season.
In the running game, the Cyclones have a three running back attack that they are able to deploy, led by redshirt sophomore Eli Sanders who has 467 rushing yards and four touchdowns this year. Along with Sanders, sophomore Cartevious Norton and freshman Abu Sama have been productive as well.
Lastly, the Cyclones offensive line has held up their end of the bargain, ranking seventh in the country in terms of sacks allowed per game, allowing a shade under one sack per contest.
DeRaud’s Scouting Report of the ISU Defense:
Iowa State’s defense has emerged as a dominant force in the Big 12, ranking fourth in points per game allowed at an impressive 19.9. Their unique three-safety formation has stifled opposing offenses, propelling them to the number one spot in total offense allowed (329 yards per game) and completion percentage (53.8%). Notably, their pass defense leads the Big 12, conceding a mere 204.3 yards per game. The Cyclones have been above average against the run as well, ranking third in the Big 12 for rush yards allowed (124.7) while maintaining an average of 3.7 yards per carry.
In the secondary, safety Jeremiah Cooper, with five interceptions and six passes defended, remains a playmaking threat, though his status for the upcoming game is still questionable. Cornerback TJ Tampa, a highly touted NFL prospect, has two interceptions and seven passes defended, contributing to his lockdown reputation. Linebacker Caleb Bacon, a former walk-on, leads the linebacker group with 37 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. Anchoring the defensive line, J.R. Singleton leads with 3.5 sacks, alongside defensive end Trent Jones, who has notched 2 sacks and a forced fumble. With a potent mix of experience and emerging talent, Iowa State’s defense is poised to pose significant challenges for Quinn Ewers and the Texas offense.