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Defensive Player to Watch: Greg Eisworth

Arguably the best Cyclone defender will need to step up once again.

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

Greg Eisworth is the best player at Iowa State, and the best safety in the Big 12.

I don’t think that I’m being over dramatic when I say that. He’s already leading the team in tackles with 23 through two games. It’s not an exaggeration to say he’s in on every play, because he’s (at minimum) within a few yards of the ball at the end of every play. Eisworth is a ball hawk, a warrior, and an insanely good football player.

So, when I was struggling to decide on a player who would have a breakout week or a key matchup, I chose the player that I’ll be watching the most on Saturday.

Admittedly, the most important part of the game on Saturday will be the trenches yet again. Louisana-Monroe has averaged just about the same rushing yards per attempt as they have passing yards per attempt, (6.2 and 6.6 yards per attempt, respectively), so stopping the run will be more important than the pass.

Stopping the pass is more of Eisworth’s job as the STAR back, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t as important in the run game. Jon Heacock’s scheme favors Eisworth more than most schemes favor safeties. Eisworth is sent on a lot of safety blitzes and is treated as a linebacker almost as much as he’s used as a safety.

Greg Eisworth’s performance in stopping the run game isn’t what makes or breaks the game; the run game is won or lost in the front seven. But when Eisworth is making plays and shooting gaps, he makes Iowa State’s run defense a lot more dangerous.