Offense- Cartevious Norton had a ‘soft launch’ breakout game against West Virginia. I’m not willing to call it a full-blown breakout game quite yet. Norton had a very nice 69 yards on 18 attempts, with two touchdowns. Iowa State rolled against West Virginia and the running game was a big part of that. Norton has battled through some injuries this season but is poised for a big finish.
If Norton can get north of 100 yards rushing this Saturday, I think our chances of winning raise exponentially.
Defense- BIG CITRUS. Domonique Orange has done a lot of little things really well at that all important nose tackle position in Heacock’s defense. Orange has set himself apart stuffing up running holes and attracting double teams in the run block. Like I said, his stats won’t jump out of you, but that’s almost by design. The more attention he gets, the easier it is for the linebackers to swallow up the running back before they get to that next level.
Orange is only a freshman, so the future is very bright with him, expect big things to come from him towards the ends of the season, and further down the road.
Offense- Life comes at you fast if you’re a Cowboys fan. After starting 5-0 and winning each game by 10+ points, the Cowboys are on a 1-3 stretch. Gundy has been tight lipped on Sanders return to QB. Because we’re Iowa State, I’m sure his shoulder will miraculously feel better by Saturday. What I’m getting at here, the player to watch is whoever is taking snaps by game time Saturday.
Sanders has been his usual self, a slightly above average Big 12 QB. However, his backups have been bad. Nepotism isn’t as strong in Oklahoma as it is out east, becasue Garret Rangel got the start over Mike Gundy’s own son, Gunnar Gundy.
Good news for Cyclones, both backups are pretty bad. Rangel threw three interceptions against Kansas last week and finished with a QBR of 47.5. Gunnar Gundy only threw it 7 times in the 48-0 dismantling against Kansas State in garbage time. If Sanders isn’t starting, our defense is going to make life miserable for either QB, or quite possibly all 3.
Defense- Mason Cobb knows that sometime the best ability is availability. This is a bruised and battered Ok St. team up and down the roster. Cobb has been a steady provider on defense leading the team in tackles at linebacker with 72 so far. On top of that he has two sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception on the year.
This Cowboys team took a big step back on defense since last season. They lost a lot of seniors, and it shows. Iowa State has set themselves apart as the best defense in the Big 12 as where it was very close last year with the Cowboys.
I know this article isn’t to give game predictions, but I’m cautiously optimistic. There are two sides to this coin though. Oklahoma State has been struggling, and they’re going to beat out some frustration on a bottom of the standings team at home, or Iowa State is going to play upset. Not to mention, Bedlam is just a week away and some wandering eyes could be focused on the Crimson and Cream instead of the Cardinal and Gold.