Iowa State focused on improving rush defense ahead of trip to Oklahoma State
Notes: Chase Allen likely to redshirt; injury update; Texas kickoff time announced
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AMES — There were nearly equal helpings of disappointment and excitement from Matt Campbell after his team’s most recent loss.
The Iowa State football coach couldn’t wait to get back to practice the next day. More than anything, he wanted to see how his team would respond after a near upset of top-15 Baylor.
“I didn’t know what I was going to find,” Campbell said. “I found a bunch of kids that were ready to come and compete. We had a great practice yesterday and continue to understand what we aren’t doing well, what we need to do better and how we can continue to grow.”
Iowa State faces Oklahoma State on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (ESPNU) in Stillwater.
The Cyclones (1-4, 0-2) kept pace with the typically high-octane Bears offense only to fall short in the final seconds. Iowa State showed it can keep up offensively, but now some of the focus shifts to how it can stop teams, particularly on the ground.
Among 128 FBS teams, Iowa State ranks No. 125 in rush defense and is the lowest among Power 5 teams while giving up 261 yards per game. If not for 10 team sacks this season, all five ISU opponents would have surpassed 200 yards rushing.
In Saturday’s loss, Baylor gained 469 yards on the ground while Campbell counted 22 missed tackles.
“Some credit there has to go to Baylor, but a lot of it had to go to how we continue to get better in those areas,” Campbell said. “Who do we funnel the football to, to who’s making those tackles to why are they missing them?
“It’s not scheme, you’re talking about guys who are two, three yards in the backfield and next thing you know those are 20- and 30-yard gains. It’s tough to stomach, but we have to (do a) better job coaching it and our kids have to get better at that fundamental.”
“Like (defensive coordinator) Coach (Jon) Heacock says, practice is the mother of all learning,” said defensive back D’Andre Payne. “If we continue to work on that and get better each and every week, we’ll be fine.”
Baylor is the best rushing team in the Big 12 at 290.2 yards per game — nearly 30 more than second-best Texas — but the Cowboys (3-2, 1-1) have gained just 134 yards per game. Their offense is dominated by the passing game, but the Cyclones are third in the conference in pass defense, giving up less than 200 yards per game.
“(We have to) just focus on our individual responsibilities,” said defensive back Evrett Edwards. “If we each do our 1/11th on the field, the full 11 can be complete.”
ALLEN LIKELY TO REDSHIRT
Freshman tight end Chase Allen likely will keep his redshirt intact, Campbell said Monday. Campbell added the 6-foot-6, 230-pound son of former UNI football coach Terry Allen is going to have four full years starting in 2017 “barring any unforeseen circumstances” the rest of 2016.
Allen was hit by a car and received 103 stitches in his back during fall camp and dealt with the flu during the first two weeks of the season.
“Do I really want to put this young man at risk of not getting a full season? I don’t know if that’s fair to him,” Campbell said. “I’d rather play a young man too late than too early. I just don’t think it’s right by Chase.”
Left guard Patrick Scoggins and linebacker Bobby McMillen III both departed Saturday’s game prematurely and Campbell shed light on the pair Monday.
Scoggins suffered from cramps, but practiced Sunday and isn’t expected to miss any time moving forward. McMillen, who has also played special teams, suffered an ankle sprain that swelled up and is questionable against Oklahoma State.
Defensive end J.D. Waggoner, who has 12 tackles this season, also is questionable for Saturday.
“He got dinged up in the game,” Campbell said of Waggoner. “We’ll have to figure out where J.D.’s at by game time this coming week. Overall healthwise, I think we’re in really good shape for this part of the season.”
Texas announced Monday its kickoff against Iowa State on Oct. 15 will be at 6 p.m. and be televised by the Longhorn Network.
Cyclones.tv also will broadcast the game.
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