Last week, I pointed out sophomore defensive lineman Ray Lima as the one to watch for this week. While his stats won’t blow you away, Lima was a major factor last week, consistently forcing Nic Shimonek to escape the pocket and make throws on the run, and bottling the Red Raiders running game. Lima will continue to be a major factor going forward, especially against a good TCU running game, but we can’t nominate every week for PTW.
The former walk-on turned all-around offensive weapon has been absolutely marvelous this season, compiling 318 yards on 26 receptions as a major part of a talented Cyclone receiving corp that has FIVE receivers over 200 yards on the season.
Ryen has been a playmaker from day one, occasionally being used by Paul Rhoads on jet sweeps, in bubble screens, and on punt returns. Now, Trever has developed into an excellent route runner and is even more dangerous after the catch now that he has blocking from his follow receivers.
As mentioned before, Ryen’s impact extends well into special teams, where he is featured on both punt teams. During the Kansas game, he ran a punt back for a touchdown and down three punts inside the 10 yard line. Those are the hidden yards and extra points that can mean the difference between winning and losing, especially against teams like Oklahoma and TCU.
TCU boasts one of the best defenses in the country, consistently holding opponents well below their averages, and essentially eliminating any vertical passing game. How do you best counter the Horned Frogs vaunted 4-2-5 defense? By utilizing the underneath passing and screen games to get playmakers into open space, which Ryen excels at. The senior’s ability to create in open space and use his blazing speed to get past the safeties will be absolutely crucial in helping the Cyclones move the ball against TCU. Gaining yardage on Ryen’s underneath routes and screen passes will draw the defense up to the line of scrimmage, allowing Iowa State to use it’s significant size advantage on the outside to throw deeper passes to actual walking trees Allen Lazard and Hakeem Butler.