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November 2, 2010

Breaking down the Iowa State offense

Nebraska Opponent Offensive Scouting Report

Team: Iowa State Cyclones
Location: Ames, Iowa

Colors: Cardinal & Gold
Enrollment: 26,856
Stadium: Jack Trice Stadium (55,000)
Conference: Big 12 (North Division)

Head Coach: Paul Rhoads (Missouri Western, 1989), 12-10 in two seasons as head coach (both at ISU)
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks: Tom Herman
2010 Record: 5-4 (3-2 Big 12)

National Ranking: None
Series Record vs. Nebraska: Nebraska leads 85-17-2

Game Date: Saturday, Nov. 6 in Ames, Iowa
Game Time: 2:30 p.m. CT
TV: ABC
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Signal-Caller: Austen Arnaud (6-3, 230) is a third-year starter at quarterback and ranks second in the Cyclones' record book for passing yards (6,438), completions (580) and total offense (7,668). He also ranks third with 39 career TD passes, needing one to tie for second place, and is currently the school's all-time leader with a 59.4 career completion percentage. This season, Arnaud has helped ISU to a 5-4 record by averaging 151.6 passing yards per game with 10 touchdowns, although he has tossed eight interceptions. He has provided a dual threat as he is second on the team with 250 rushing yards this fall, and has rushed for more than 1,200 yards in his career. Backup Jerome Tiller (6-2, 200) has seen limited action in four games, completing 14-of-32 pass attempts.

On the Ground: Alexander Robinson (5-9, 191) posted 117 rushing yards last week-his 12th career 100-yard game-in the victory over Kansas and in the process became just the fifth back in ISU history to cross the 3,000-yard plateau. He now has 3,088 career yards on 639 carries (4.8 ypc), including 725 yards this season. Robinson is eighth in the league with 80.6 ypg this fall, an average that ranks 47th in the country. As a team, the Cyclones are 52nd nationally with 157.2 rushing yards per game behind Robinson's team-leading effort, which also includes eight of Iowa State's 13 rushing touchdowns. QB Austen Arnaud is second on the squad with 27.8 ypg while
Shontrelle Johnson (5-9, 182) and Jeff Woody (6-0, 234) also each more than 20 yards per game.

Catching It: Four Cyclones have at least 20 receptions this fall with Mackey Award watch list TE Collin Franklin (6-5, 252) and QB Austen Arnaud establishing the most frequent connection. Franklin has a team-leading 37 catches for 356 yards (39.7 ypg) and is tied with three other players with a season-best two receiving touchdowns. Darius Darks (6-1, 189), Jake Williams (6-2, 203) and RB Alexander Robinson each have 21 receptions apiece and have combined for three touchdowns. The Cyclones have a passing offense that ranks 104th nationally and last in the Big 12 Conference.

On the Line: Iowa State has some veteran and large pieces-ISU's listed starters average 6-4, 316 pounds-- to move around on the offensive line, starting with 2009 second-team All-Big 12 selection LT Kelechi Osemele (6-5, 335). He has been in the opening lineup for 24 consecutive games while C Ben Lamaak (6-4, 320) and LG Alex Alvarez (6-2, 305) have joined him as stalwarts up front. Alvarez has started the past 26 games at three different positions while Lamaak owns 40 career starts despite missing last week's game against Kansas. The trio is listed atop this week's depth chart with RG Hayworth Hicks (6-3, 330) and RT Brayden Burris (6-6, 290).

Kicking It Around: P Kirby Van Der Kamp (6-3, 195) has helped flip the field for the Cyclones as he averages 45.6 yards per punt. He is 10th nationally in punting, although ISU ranks just 43rd nationally and eighth in the league in net punting. Among his 47 kicks, Van Der Kamp has 15 of 50 or more yards, including averaging 52 yards on seven punts vs. Oklahoma, and has pinned the opponent inside the 20-yard line 16 times. PK Grant Mahoney (6-0, 176) has hit 7-of-12 field-goal attempts this fall although he has missed each of his last four attempts over the past four games. All four kicks were from at least 45 yards, including three of over 50 yards where he is 0-3 this season. Mahoney is 6-of-7 from inside the 45-yard line this fall.

They Said It: "I think it just continues to add to the credibility with the kids and fan base with what we're doing. I think it's huge this year based on our schedule strength. This is the fourth top-10 team we have played, by playing Nebraska this week. You could look everywhere we turn, everyone has us with the toughest schedule in the country and to be 5-4 and have a chance to gain bowl eligibility would be extremely important for everyone surrounding this program."
--- Iowa State coach Paul Rhoades on the chance for a second straight bowl berth

Quick hits

***ISU is playing the toughest schedule in the country this fall. The Cyclones' opponents are a combined 51-24 this season (not including FCS teams) for a .680 winning percentage. The next toughest schedule in the country is Penn State, whose opponents have combined for a 50-26 mark and .658 winning percentage.

*** The Cyclones are searching for their second straight season of bowl eligibility under coach Paul Rhodes. He currently owns a 12-10 overall record, the best 22-game start to an ISU coaching career since Clay Stapleton went 16-6 in his first 22 games in 1958 to 1961.

*** With its win at then-No. 22 Texas on Oct. 23, the Cyclones snapped a streak of 36 straight losses in road games against ranked teams. It also got ISU back to .500 overall and in league action.

***Iowa State ranks 98th nationally in total offense with 320.9 yards per game. The average is last in the conference, while its scoring offense (24.0 ppg) is ninth.

*** The Cyclones have won only 17 times in 104 meetings against the Cornhuskers, although three of the victories have come in the past eight years. The last time ISU won consecutive games against Nebraska was 1976 and 1977 when Iowa State defeated Nebraska 37-28 in Ames and 24-21 in Lincoln. Nebraska was ranked No. 9 both seasons and ISU was unranked.

2010 Iowa State Schedule/Results
9/2 Northern Illinois, W, 27-10
9/11 at Iowa, L, 7-35
9/18 vs. Kansas State, L, 20-27
9/25 Northern Iowa, W, 27-0
10/2 Texas Tech, W, 52-38
10/9 Utah, L, 27-68
10/16 at Oklahoma, L, 0-52
10/23 at Texas, W, 28-21
10/30 Kansas, W, 28-16
11/6 Nebraska, 2:30 p.m. ABC
11/13 at Colorado, TBA
11/20 Missouri, TBA


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