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Week 7 Player To Watch: A Wildcard Wideout

Opportunity knocks — Dondre Daley answers

NCAA Football: Texas at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

As heartbreaking as Iowa State’s last two losses have been, there have been plenty of positives. The Cyclones are trending upward after two weeks of being in winnable games against Baylor and Oklahoma State. Texas, on the other hand, is trending downward.

After a big win against Notre Dame to start the season and beating a cupcake in UTEP, the Longhorns have dropped three straight games and Charlie Strong’s seat is about as hot as it can get.

There’s another trend that bodes well for the Cyclones. Iowa State’s offense has put up 44, 42 and 31 points in the last three weeks, signaling an offense that has found its footing after disappointing outings to start the season. Any guesses on how bad the Longhorn defense is?

Texas gives up 39.6 points per game (118th in the nation) and is pretty bad against both the pass and rush. Mighty Texas gives up nearly 300 yards through the air and nearly 200 on the ground per game.

Good new for Iowa State’s offense! Bad news for me. It’s hard to pick a player to watch when pretty much anybody who plays offense has a chance at a breakout game. Iowa State’s defense pitched a shutout against the Longhorns last year, so I considered picking a defensive player this week, but Texas has proven its ability to score this season (17th in the nation at 41 points per game), pointing toward a potential shootout.

So I’m going to stick with an offensive player. The usual suspects (Joel Lanning, Mike Warren, Allen Lazard) would all be easy picks, but I’m going to go a little outside the box. Trever Ryen had a good game last weekend and Deshaunte Jones has had a few decent games, but I am going to go with Dondre Daley.

He’s got 10 catches for 201 yards and a pair of TDs on the season. Three catches and 73 yards came last week, and 59 of those yards came on one play. Daley has never put up eye-popping numbers despite seeing seeing the field the past four years. The defense will always focus on Warren and Lazard, and Ryen is a question mark this week due to injury issues, leaving the door open for a big game from someone who isn’t one of the usual suspects.

Daley has always been around and has shown his big play ability at times. Maybe he can take advantage this week and make a bigger impact as the Cyclones look to get over the hump and finish off a Big 12 road win.