It’s only two games in, but Iowa State’s defense is on a blistering pace for pressuring the quarterback.
The Cyclones had 20 tackles for loss and nine sacks in their opening two games. Nine of ISU’s tackles behind the line came from linebackers, eight from linemen and three from the secondary.
“We have a lot of different people from a lot of different spots to come after the quarterback,” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “We’ve had sacks from a number of different guys – some on stunts, some on blitzes and some on 3-man rushes.”
In their opening two games last fall, the Cyclones managed just five tackles for loss. For that same timeframe (two games), Iowa State had six TFLs in 2013, 11 in 2012, seven in 2011, 10 in 2010 and 11 in 2009.
Twenty, so far this year, stacks up nicely.
In his first six seasons, Rhoads’ teams averaged 4.68 TFLs and 1.2 sacks per game. So, per-game averages of 10 TFLs and 4.5 sacks in 2015 dwarf historical trends for Rhoads’ teams
Dale Pierson (5.5) and Janor Jones (4.0) are leading the way among Cyclones in tackles for loss and they rank first and tied for second among Big 12 players.
A year ago, TCU and Baylor ranked second and third in the league in sacks and they shared the league title. ISU has ranked last among league schools for sacks four times in the last six years.
Defensive pressure is frequently an element among successful teams.
In week one of NFL play, teams which recorded at least three sacks in their openers were 7-2. Seven squads failed to record a sack last week and none of those teams won.