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Mid-Season Grades: Defensive Line

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Arguably Iowa State’s best position group entering the season.

Akron v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Iowa State’s defensive line was one of the best in the nation in 2017, and so far in 2018 they’ve proven to be just that once again. Ray Lima and Jaquan Bailey are the studs up front playing at an all-Big 12 rate, and we’ve also seen some new faces coming into the fold.

Things The Defensive Line Does Well

The three-man front is not particularly common in college football, and when it is used, it’s usually just in special situations. However, Iowa State has made a living on it. Their ability to get to the quarterback and create chaos out of that front each and every game is a thing of beauty, and Iowa State is tied for seventh in the country with a total of 20 sacks. Jaquan Bailey has 4.5 sacks on the year and Spencer Benton has 2 to lead the sack leaders across the defensive line.

Secondly, the ability to stop the run has been extremely impressive. One thing these guys do well, especially Ray Lima, is fight at the point of attack, take up blocks, and plug the run gaps. Iowa State currently has the nation’s 16th best run defense. The Cyclones only allow 2.98 yards per rush and just a little over 100 yards a game. The defense has been very successful at making opposing offenses one dimensional and the defensive lines ability to do this certainly helps things out.

Things The Defensive Line Doesn’t Do Well

I think the all around game by the defensive line is superb, and you really can’t knock them any where for doing something wrong. The defensive line may be the most consistent group that we have on the entire team, and that is saying something.

Grade: A

I am going to give the defensive line an “A”. This group is as rock solid as they come, taking up blocks, and getting to the quarterback. They literally do everything that you want a defensive line to do, and are very good at it. Credit to defensive line coach Eli Rasheed for having his group ready to go week one and being consistent the entire season to this point. It’ll be a fun ride to be on and watching these guys top their first half performance.