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Offensive Player to Watch vs. TCU: Tarique Milton

Look for Milton to step-up against the Horned Frogs.

photo via: Iowa State Athletics

There was obviously tremendous disappointment from Iowa State’s week one blunder against the Ragin’ Cajuns. On the offensive side of the ball, outside of the quarterback play, there was not anyone more disappointing than Tarique Milton. This was set to be Milton’s breakout season, as he has replaced Deshaunte Jones as the starting slot receiver for the Cyclones. Milton had increased his season-long receiving total from 417 yards to 722 from his first to second seasons, so there was no reason that he wouldn’t be in line for a breakout junior campaign.

Out of Brock Purdy’s 35 passes week one, seven of them were directed towards Milton and he only brought in three of them for 18 yards. Last season, Deshaunte Jones had 76 receptions for 877 yards from the slot, so I would imagine Matt Campbell would like to see more production than 18 yards a game from the slot this season. For someone who was set to be Purdy’s potential first receiving option in 2020, Milton’s 18 yards was highly unexpected.

Iowa State’s passing game seemed out of sink all game against ULL, completing only 16 of 35 pass attempts for just 145 yards. Missing preseason All-Big 12 tight end Charlie Kolar certainly didn’t help, but it opened the door for a veteran receiver in Milton to have a big game, which he did not. Kolar will likely be back in the lineup this week against TCU which has a chance to ignite the offense, but if the Cyclones are able to find Milton’s explosive plays from last season that could make their offense that more special. Last season, the Bradenton, FL native’s 20.6 yards per catch ranked first on the team by nearly a five-yard margin, asserting himself as arguably the most explosive offensive weapon on the team.

This will be TCU’s first game of the 2020 season, but that is no reason for Iowa State to take them lightly. In 2019, the Horned Frogs were the No. 28 team in the country against the pass only allowing 199.7 yards per contest. This could be concerning for a team that is coming off a week with only 145 yards through the air. Tarique Milton’s game-breaking speed could be the spark that the Cyclones’ offense needs after such a disappointing open to the season.