With five teams from the Big 12 ranked in the NCAA’s Top 20 for total offense and eight of the league’s schools boasting total offensive averages above 400 yards, it’s not surprising that Iowa State has allowed 3,813 yards this fall (ranking 83rd nationally). But, the ISU defenders have been stingy in surrendering only 193 points (tied for 29th nationally).A media member asked Paul Rhoads Monday about being outgained most games this season. “Yards aren’t as important to us as having more points on the scoreboard at the end of the game,” Rhoads said in response to the leading question. Iowa State is credited with having a “bend but don’t break defense”. Cyclone opponents have gained 19.8 yards for every point scored this season. Is that good? Here’s some context The only schools nationally with better marks than ISU for yards given up per point allowed are Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Utah State, Rutgers, Boise State and Northern Illinois. Those seven schools have won 57 of 64 games this season. The teams above simply don’t allow many yards, except for NIU. The Huskies, like the Cyclones, have given up a good amount of yardage but kept people off the scoreboard. Points allowed is the only statistic that really matters for grading a defense and the Cyclones “bend but don’t break” mantra has served them well.
Reader feedback is welcome at email@example.com. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow