Coach Paul Rhoads explained after Saturday’s football game that improvement on a week-to-week basis with his defense would be a key to the season. He knows that season statistics to date don’t show the type of improvement he is seekingWhile the Cyclone defense has mixed in several new starters this season, his club has also dealt with missed games for anticipated starters Matt Tau’fo’ou, Ter’Ran Benton, David Sims and Bailey Johnson. The opening three opponents – Northern Illinois, Iowa and Kansas State – all featured ground-hugging, physical offenses. Not surprisingly, the Cyclones have struggled to slow the slow the run game of its opposition.
Iowa State foes have largely stayed out of long-yardage situations offensively and that is a combination of ISU’s national ranking of tied for 100th in tackles for loss and the fact that opponents have yet to be called for a holding call on 197 offensive plays.Rhoads said in the post-game interviews that the corrective measure must emerge on the practice field. That starts today as the Cyclones begin preparation to host Northern Iowa, the 11th-rated rushing offense (238.0 per game and 7.0 per attempt) in the FCS level of college football. Reader feedback is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter at: twitter.com/SteveMalchow