Stadium: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
Game Time: 7:00 PM
TV: Online at Cyclones.TV
Get ready for one
hell half-assed preview on this one. Anyone that has read my weekly Big XII previews knows I'm not a huge fan of the I-AA schools on the schedule so I seldom waste my time previewing the actual game. I'm a fan of wins, that's for sure, but because it's hard to actually breakdown a team due to lack of film it kind of makes a preview that means anything worthless. Plus we all know how this one will turnout.
Let's jump on down to the preview where I'll continue to not predict good things for Aaron Horne because he loves proving me wrong.When We Last Left Off...
Iowa State was doing this:
Western Illinois beat Division II school Indianapolis 27-17.
Iowa State vs Western Illinois:
A History There Is No History
A Look at Iowa State's Offense vs Western Illinois
I don't know much about Western Illinois but I do know this is what their defensive line two deep looks like:
DE 93(6-2, 260, Sr)
99 Eddy Holtschlag (6-4, 245, R-Fr)
T 50 Gino Durley, Jr. (6-2, 260, Soph)
90 Jean-Marc Charles (6-4, 260, Fr)
N 9 RYAN DEMMING (6-3, 265, Jr)
49 Jacoby Sessions (6-3, 300, Jr)
DE 37 ETHAN BACHINSKI (6-3, 240, Jr)
71 Chip Holtschlag (6-2, 225, Soph)
I'm no rocket scientist but I think Iowa State is going to try to run the ball here. The Leathernecks' linebackers are of adequate size (~230 lbs on average) but their WILL linebacker only stands 5'10". A healthy dose of inside and outside running should wear these guys down early. Especially if those backups need to see significant playing time. Can't wait to see these guys try to corral Shontrelle Johnson after some of the runs he's made the last two weeks. Iowa bottled him up pretty well as the game wore on last Saturday but there were times he was finding seams in the line when Iowa was still committing 7 or 8 to the run.
This will also be the game for Steele Jantz to regain some of the confidence he may have lost last weekend . I expect a zero turnover game from him and some short throws to get him in a rhythm before working on the deeper routes to build some confidence. If Jantz isn't sitting in the 3rd quarter so Jared Barnett and Sam Richardson can get some snaps I'll be disappointed.
A Look at Iowa State's Defense vs Western Illinois
Once again the 12 man rotation at defensive line started to pay dividends late in the game vs Iowa. James Vandenberg was forced into quick throws on the last drive due to some of the pressure being generated and it worked against Iowa State's soft zone until Jake Knott decided to win the game.
When looking at Western Illinois' offensive line all I could think of was Dan McCarney type lines. Bigger guys with short, T-Rex-like arms:
LT 69 Jeff Lindsey (6-2, 285, Jr)
78 Jamal Keaton (6-5, 290, Soph)
LG 67 Brandon De La Cruz (6-3, 310, R-Fr)
68 Sean Sullivan (6-2, 295, R-Fr)
C 52 ANDREW ROBISKIE (6-3, 300, Sr)
63 Ryan Ricketts (6-3, 280, R-Fr)
RG 55 MAX DANCER (6-3, 290, Sr)
58 Ryan Bischoff (6-2, 300, Jr)
RT 76 JIMMY HOLTSCHLAG (6-5, 300, Jr)
72 Nick Eversmeyer (6-2, 300, Sr)
These guys aren't going to move earth all that well against a bigger front but they do have two capable running backs in Caulton Ray and Nikko Watson. Ray has rushed for 210 yards on 47 carries and bruiser Watson has rushed for 179 yards on 39 carries. Both men are averaging around 4.5 yards per rush so we know immediately that Western Illinois will try to set the tone this way. They definitely won't be beating Iowa State on the outside so it will be interesting to see if the defensive line comes to play and ready to stop the run like last week or if they relax and let Western Illinois have a couple of successful drives before buckling down.
Similar to the offense, I expect to see a lot of our other guys like Jevohn Miller, C.J. Morgan, Sam Richardson, etc get significant playing time in the second half.
A Look at Iowa State's Special Teams vs Western Illinois
Kick coverage was much improved last week against Iowa but I am intrigued at how the strategy will change when facing the more athletic Big XII returners. Edwin Arceo missed an extra point on a fundamental flaw that Coach Rhoads has said will need to be worked out. Unlike previous kickers I think Arceo has enough intestinal fortitude to build himself to consistency.
Kirby Van Der Kamp is landing 50% of his punts inside the 20 yard line and still averaging over 40 yards/punt. Outstanding.
WRNL Lead Pipe Prediction (1-1): DeVondrick Nealy gets his first snaps at running back after White and Johnson have an outstanding first half.
50/50 Prediction (0-2): Jerome Tiller finds the end zone either via reception or pass (yes, I said pass).
Reason for Impromptu Dumpster Burning (0-2): If someone steals my beer during the game. Yes, it's happened before. Ingrates.
I have 51 words left to keep this under 1,000 words for once so I'm not going to spend a lot time providing an analysis here. I expect the offense and defense to both have solid outings with maybe motivation being an issue early. Only thing I am really hoping for this weekend are no injuries, successful and physical red zone conversions, and a chance to see some quality back ups. In that order.
Iowa State 42
Western Illinois 3
PS - Provide your predictions below, as asinine as they may be. Final word count: 988.