Four of college football’s 14 undefeated teams – including the Cyclones’ opponent (Kansas State) Saturday – share a common attribute. The Wildcats, Ohio State, South Carolina and Oregon all boast of a strong running threat at quarterback.Collin Klein has 405 rushing yards for K-State, while the Buckeyes’ Braxton Miller (763 yards, 7.2 avg.), the Gamecocks’ Connor Shaw (64 att., 281 yards) and the Ducks’ Marcus Mariota (221 yards, 5.1 avg.) all pose significant threats as runners. “The quarterback run game creates an extra gap in your defense,” Cyclone Coach Paul Rhoads said, “so you are outnumbered.” Iowa State has worked hard to develop its QB play with an eye on strong decision making, accuracy in throwing and, as importantly, the ability to make plays in the run game. Through five games this fall, Iowa State quarterbacks have carried the ball 66 times (Steele Jantz 54 and Jared Barnett 12). A year ago, Barnett registered 104 carries with a 4.2-yard average per attempt in nine games (six starts). Against TCU last week, Barnett’s nine carries netted 30 yards. Rhoads knows the mismatch a running QB creates for a defense. The Wildcats and Cyclones both like to play that card. The more effective team in that regard Saturday probably lands the first punch. The better question might be, which team can defend a running quarterback better?
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