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Defensive & Offensive Players to Watch: Week 2

El Assico is on the Horizon

Northern Iowa v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

IOWA STATE

OFFENSE The thing to watch might just be is his playing time. Charlie Kolar was sidelined in the season opener against UNI, and the offense struggled. The Tom Manning tight end extravaganza took a back seat with little to no targets for tight ends on Saturday. Some of that, I’m assuming by design, but some of that was also due to no Charlie Kolar. Kolar is the one of Purdy’s favorite targets, and a great redzone weapon that felt lacking last Saturday.

Assuming Kolar is either near or at 100%, he could easily be the X factor and the missing piece to a well oiled offensive machine for the Cyclones.

DEFENSE I just looked both ways to make sure I wasn’t about to get ran over by Isheem Young, I would suggest Hawkeyes to do the same this weekend. Young was a sure thing on Saturday finishing with 5 tackles, and a momentum shifting interception.

Also, I know we technically lost yardage on that interception, but we all know the “int” is sexier in the box score than a pass deflection. Young is such a game changer. His hits can electrify the crowd, he’s a great open field tackler, and he’s worked on ‘cleaner’ tackles over the season. (Targeting is stupid and they need to re-write that rule, but whatever.)

Indiana v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

IOWA

OFFENSE Tyler “Mr. Superbowl” Goodson, took some heat on Tuesday for calling it ‘our superbowl’. Side note, congratulations to Iowa State for qualifying for 3-4 super bowls a season. Goodson is the best player on the Iowa offense, outside of Tyler Linderbaum. Linderbaum will be great, but he isn’t going to win or lose this game. Goodson could. If the run game starts off strong, that’ll force Iowa State to stack the box and give Iowa the opportunity for big plays over the top.

Goodson had 99 yards against the Hoosiers, but 56 of those yards came from one big play at the start of the game. The rest of the game he averaged 2.3 yards per carry against a good, but not great, Indiana defense.

The running theme of this game is going to be which team can establish the run game, and which team can stop the run on defense. Whichever team is going to win that battle is going to win the game.

DEFENSE Now I’m not expecting Riley Moss to get two pick sixes in back to back games, but his performance against Indiana might be enough to dissuade Purdy from throwing it in his direction. Oddly enough, Moss only got one tackle the whole game.

That being said he had more receiving yards than any single receiver on Indiana, and was Michael Penix’s best receiver last Saturday. (CC: One hell of a lede on the “Many Happy Returns” article by Leah Vann, poster dunk)