ISU Offense is Struggling — Could this Mean a Frog Win?

October 4, 2019

Cooler weather and an agitated bunch of Iowa State Cyclones await the Frogs in their first Big 12 road game of the year. Iowa State, picked to finish as the show horse (3rd place for you non-horse track people) by the Big 12 preseason pundits, has tripped out of the gate on their way to a 2-2 start. Now mind you, two of their losses are by a total of three points. The Cyclones are a team full of talent, but much like the Frogs, they’re still sorting some things out.

ISU head coach Matt Campbell is a good, young leader who has taken Iowa State on an aggressive vertical climb since his arrival.

Now in his fourth season, Campbell has gone from a 1-8 start at Iowa State to now having won 20 of his last 33 games. He’s a hot commodity and many schools have come calling.

Offensively, the Cyclones are struggling. An experienced offensive line has not lived up to expectations and the running game is still looking for “the guy” after the departure for David Montgomery, one of the best-ever at ISU. They’ve tried five different running backs and the QB Brock Purdy is still the best production runner they have. ISU is ninth in the Big 12 in rushing yardage and last in rushing attempts. Gone too are the big wideouts like Allen Lazard, who’s now with the Packers. The passing game centers around big TE Charlie Kolar, who somehow escaped from Norman, Oklahoma. Fifteen of his 19 catches on the year have gone for a first down or a touchdown. Along with WR Tarique Milton, they are the air threats. The Frogs need to get pressure from their front four to make things work defensively against Iowa State. Baylor had a fun day pressuring Brock Purdy last Saturday, getting three sacks.

TCU and Iowa State met at home last year, where the Horned Frogs won 17-14. ISU's #3 JaQuan Bailey (far left) fought hard last meeting, but now he has an injured leg. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

TCU and Iowa State met at home last year, where the Horned Frogs won 17-14. ISU’s #3 JaQuan Bailey (far left) fought hard last meeting, but now he has an injured leg. Photo by Glen E. Ellman

Defensively, Iowa State has been stingy, not giving up more than 23 points in regulation in any game this year. They run an interesting scheme that features a lot of 3-Down linemen looks and they frequently drop eight cover men to create a crowded cornfield effect in the secondary. ISU’s best defensive lineman #3 JaQuan Bailey is questionable after hurting a leg late in the loss at Baylor last week. Linebacker O’Rien Vance (a transfer from Washington) is a player — he had nine tackles and two sacks at Baylor last week. In the secondary, the corners are young and still figuring it out.

Given the weather forecast, this is a game where the Frog running game could come in really handy.

A strong start on the ground will force Iowa State to load up on the run and free up space in the secondary. TCU’s offensive line needs to repeat last week’s performance and be aware of delayed blitzes and pressure coming from the linebackers. Blitz pickups will be key.

Did You Know?

Gary Patterson’s first coaching at TCU was at Iowa State to open the 1998 season. The Frogs were a 13-point underdog and came away with a 31-21 win to kickoff that historic 1998 season for the eventual Sun Bowl Champions. At that time a road win was a novelty. Little did we know that was just the beginning of a 20-plus year run. How time flies.

By the way, there were 33,000 in attendance on that hot September day back in ’98. There’ll be a lot more people at Jack Trice Stadium (the Big 12’s third-largest stadium: capacity 61,500) tomorrow morning. It’s a new day for the Cyclones and their fans show up regardless of the weather. Speaking of weather, game day weather looks to be rainy and in the mid-60s for the high.

We’ll talk to you from Ames, Iowa, at 10 a.m. on the Horned Frogs Sports Network. Catch us on WBAP 820 AMKTCU-FM 88.7, Sirius 99, XM 207, the Riff Ram App (Google PlayApple), or TuneIn App.

Until then,

Kick ‘Em High!