I’m not going to sugarcoat it: It’s been a rough stretch the past couple weeks trying to pick Iowa State’s player to watch. Kamari Cotton-Moya, Deshaunte Jones, and Dondre Daley didn’t exactly ball out on the weeks they were picked.
So this week, I’m going back to one of the usual suspects. And it’s easier to predict the performances of offensive guys. Realistically, that leaves me with Joel Lanning, Allen Lazard, and Mike Warren as the usual suspects. Kansas State has a stout run defense (third in the nation in yards allowed), so that kind of rules out Warren.
However, the Wildcat defense is fairly vulnerable pass defense, so that lends itself to Lanning and Lazard, whose success largely relies on one another. But I am going to go with Lazard as this week’s player to watch.
Lazard started the season with back-to-back good games, but since then he’s been pretty quiet.
Against TCU: 1 catch, 8 yards
Against SJSU: 4 catches, 47 yards
Against Baylor: 3 catches, 33 yards
The past two weeks have been better than that stretch. Lazard grabbed six catches for 55 yards and a pair of TDs against Oklahoma State and hauled in seven catches for 65 yards against Texas.
Throw in a bye week and it’s been six weeks since Lazard has went over the century mark. Obviously his numbers the last two weeks have been fine (even better if you’re a PPR kind of person), but not quite as flashy as you might want your number one receiver’s numbers to be.
Granted, there other plenty of other factors that go against Lazard. He gets plenty of attention from opposing defenses, and Iowa State’s offense doesn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. Against a struggling pass defense, maybe Lazard has a chance to change that this week.
Kansas State is clearly a winnable game for the Clones, but it doesn’t seem like running the ball will be the way to do it. If Iowa State is going to be forced to throw the ball around, then throwing it Lazard’s way boosts the Cyclones’ chance of winning.