ISU run defense vs. UT run offense will set the tone in Thursday match-up

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Texas is averaging 210 yards rushing per game and more than 5 yards per carry. The Longhorn offensive line averages 305 pounds per man. When they can, UT likes to impose their will.

 That is one of the challenges facing Iowa State this week when the schools clash.

 “One of our primary goals as a defense every week is to stop the run,” Coach Paul Rhoads said matter-of-factly after the win at Tulsa. “Tonight, our guys did a very effective job of that.”

 Texas is the next milepost.

 Iowa State took a hit to its run defense last year with the departure of seniors A.J. Klein, Jake McDonough and Jake Knott.

 In the season opener against UNI, the Cyclones surrendered 228 yards on the ground. More importantly, ISU allowed 6.9 yards per carry. Rhoads said his team tackled poorly.

 Since then, things have gotten much, much better.

 Although Iowa gained 218 yards rushing, its 3.6-yard average was nearly a full yard less than any of its other games this fall. Tulsa failed to gain 100 yards rushing last week.

 Against Iowa and Tulsa – two run-oriented offenses – the Cyclones allowed only 3.4 yards per run. In the five prior games – albeit four of those were at the tail end of last season – Iowa State foes averaged 5.5 yards per attempt.

 Texas will be a challenge.

 But, it’s a battle (UT run offense vs. ISU run defense) that will go a long ways toward determining the winner.