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Iowa State to face a stingy defense in No. 5 Oklahoma State
Nov. 9, 2015 4:46 pm
AMES - Iowa State faced a gauntlet in playing the top three offenses in the nation during the middle of Big 12 play and rhetoric was the toughest days were in the past.
A loss to No. 12 Oklahoma last week and a senior day date against No. 5 Oklahoma State on the horizon have provided a new round of challenges for the Cyclones (3-6, 2-4), who hope to reignite the momentum they gained in beating Texas.
Coach Paul Rhoads spent the first portion of his news conference Monday praising the Cowboys (9-0, 6-0), who are fresh off a shellacking against what was then a top-10 TCU team.
'They were dominating the football game,” Rhoads said. 'They were dominating in all phases. Really had their football team prepared for that game. There is no question they have talent, but they really executed against, what we already know, is a very good TCU team.”
Oklahoma State made TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin - one of the biggest offensive threats in the country - uncomfortable all day and picked him off four times. A lot of credit goes to the OSU pass defense, which is second in the Big 12, but Rhoads said it's the secondary that might be the key to defensive efficiency.
The Cowboys allow 243.7 passing yards per game and have a league-leading 14 interceptions, using speed up front to get pressure.
'They were very athletic and did a good job of defending our routes and stuff and matching us on those,” said ISU receiver Allen Lazard. 'But I haven't watched film on them yet so I can't make an accurate statement.”
'The guys off the line of scrimmage really, really run,” Rhoads said. 'I'm talking about linebackers and secondary guys. You might see a hole that's developed and somebody's got a shot in there then whew, it's closed down and it's a two or three yard gain.”
Combating Oklahoma State's defense will lie with the accuracy of quarterback Joel Lanning, but getting running back Mike Warren to establish the rushing attack could be the difference maker. Warren is three yards shy of 1,000 this season, and Rhoads said a big piece in the milestone doesn't get recognized very often.
ISU center Jamison Lalk has started every game at center this season and has 28 career starts, tied for most on the team. The Cyclones have rushed for 178.2 yards per game under Lalk's watch, and Rhoads said he has consistently graded out in film study 'above 80 percent.”
'(He's) managing and handling all of the checks that go along with that and practicing every day,” Rhoads said. 'Battling through pain and injuries like most of those guys up front do. But really been a rock for us up there and I've been really happy for him to put in the time like he has and be having this kind of year.”
Right guard Daniel Burton missed last week's game against Oklahoma and remains in a boot, Rhoads said Monday. Burton is set to see a doctor Monday evening to determine his status for this week and beyond.
'... they have not really started any kind of aggressive rehab,” Rhoads said. 'That's the way the docs wanted it. But with five days out, we're hopeful they'll get him out of that and get him moving and he'll be available to us.”
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