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Defensive Preview: Iowa State

The Texas offense will look for creative ways to get the Iowa State defense out of its dominant groove against Big 12 offenses

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Reese Strickland, USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State possesses the best defense in the Big 12. The Cyclones have experience and talent at nearly every position, but most importantly they run a great scheme that allows them to slow down potent Big 12 offenses. Let’s take a look at what to expect from a stout Iowa State defense on Saturday night:

Defensive Line

The Iowa State defensive line is active and disruptive. DE Jaquan Bailey leads the team in sacks with 5.5 and is the best pass rusher. 295-pound Jamhl Johnson and 305-pound Ray Lima anchor the middle of the line and serve as solid run stuffers.

The most impressive thing about the Cyclones defensive line is how well they play assignment football. It is obvious from watching their previous games that they are well-coached and rarely take themselves out of plays.

Linebacker

Marcel Spears Jr. is the main player to watch at the linebacker position. Spears is utilized all over the field, possessing the ability to blitz up the middle or off the edge but also possesses the ability to cover athletes in space. Freshman Mike Rose has stepped in at middle linebacker after QB-turned-LB Joel Lanning graduated a season ago. Rose has held his own this year, which is impressive considering playing linebacker as a freshman in the Big 12 is difficult.

Secondary

The Cyclones are very experienced at cornerback with seniors Brain Peavy and D’Andre Payne. If Texas is without Collin Johnson again, the Cyclones will surely not allow Lil’Jordan Humphrey to beat them as easily as Texas Tech did a week ago. At safety, Greg Ellsworth leads the team in tackles with 68 and is a major piece of the Iowa State 3-3-5 defense because of his ability to help shut down the running game. Walk-On Braxton Lewis also plays a key role in the defense, and ranks second on the team with 55 tackles. Lewis will used as a defensive back/linebacker hybrid.

Overall, Iowa State is very good in the back end. The group only allowed 14 points to West Virginia earlier this season and held Will Grier to 100 yards passing. Texas will have to find a way to stretch the field vertically to try to open up some room in the middle of the field for Humphrey and other receivers to operate.

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Jameson McCausland is originally from Frisco, Texas, where he grew up a Longhorn fan. His two favorite sports are football and baseball, both of which he covers for HornSports. He enjoys spending time with family and friends in his spare time. Jameson is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

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