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Defensive Player to Watch: Ray Lima

Iowa State’s most important player on the team will be the key to their success against Iowa.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Baylor Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that Iowa’s offensive line is elite, but so is Iowa State’s defensive line.

This matchup will be a huge factor in determining the game, no doubt about it. More importantly, Ray Lima will be at the forefront of that matchup.

Lima is the anchor of the defense, and is essential to Iowa State’s three man front. Lima is an ABSOLUTE UNIT standing at 6’3 and weighing 310 pounds. His big frame and quickness for size allows him to soak up two to three offensive lineman per play, which opens up the gaps for the linebackers while the defensive ends draw the tackles out.

Ray Lima is absolutely dominant on the defensive line and is a force to be reckoned with.

But we can also expect to see a dominant offensive line from the TOE. Year after year, Kirk Ferentz brings in an elite offensive line that gets a push that allows an annoying (but effective) 4-5 yards per play and eventually wears out the defense.

The only way to counter this is to not allow them to get a push and not allow the offensive line to dominate the game. If the defensive line can push Iowa back and hold them to one or two yards per play and get them out of rhythm, Iowa State will be in a much better position than if Iowa is comfortable. Ray Lima can have that type of an effect on a game.

Last season, Lima was extremely effective against Iowa. The Hawkeye offense was limited to just 13 points as he helped open gaps for Mike Rose to rack up tackles. Lima’s dominance didn’t show up in the stat sheet. In fact, it hardly ever does. But his presence in that game was known.

Lima was also very good in the season opener against Northern Iowa, having about the same impact on that game as he has on most. He had four tackles and .5 TFL in his first showing of the year.

Expect a similar output on Saturday when he is performing on the biggest stage in college football.

This game will be won in the trenches, and I believe (and hope) with everything I can that Lima will get the job done and help the Cyclones defense dominate the game.