ISU has the Big 12’s best defense in last month


Iowa State’s defense must have drawn a line in the sand about a month ago. That is when the fortunes of the Cyclone football team changed course.

Entering the Oklahoma game, this blog suggested the defensive turn-around is what sparked a second-half-of-the-season surge. Friday seemed like a good day to write that because the high-powered Sooners were on deck.

But, it was more of the same in Norman. ISU held Oklahoma to 26 points, it second-lowest (Florida State limited OU to 23) total of the year. Three times the Sooners took possession in ISU territory and had to settle for a field goal. The Sooners’ two biggest plays (88 yards worth) were reverses.

In the last month of the season, Iowa State’s defense has been the league’s best in the most important category – scoring. During that timeframe, the Cyclones faced the Big 12’s top two offenses (Oklahoma State and Oklahoma).

Here is the list of Big 12 scoring averages the last four games: Iowa State (18.5 ppg), Texas (19.7), Missouri (21.0), Oklahoma (23.2), Oklahoma State (28.0), Texas A&M (32.0), Kansas (34.7), Baylor (37.2), Kansas State (43.2) and Texas Tech (53.7).

It can’t be overstated the importance of the experience in the staff meeting room with Paul Rhoads, Wally Burnham and Bobby Elliott having combined for nearly four decades as defensive coordinators.

But, as important as that coaching experience, is the execution by a young football team. It is becoming the storyline of the season.

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