Be it an offensive shootout (2011) or a defensive grudge match (2012), the Iowa game ought to be close. To come out on top, the Cyclones must limit Iowa's offensive difference makers.
Quarterback Jake Rudock might have an interception problem — three picks, one touchdown in two games — but he's completing 61.5 percent of his passes, is averaging 6.9 yards and attempt and is a threat on the ground, especially in the red zone, where he's rushed for scores of six, two and six yards.
Running back Mark Weisman has seen his carries per game as a junior jump by 10 from his sophomore year, and he's making the most of them. The 6-foot, 236-grinder has 280 yards and two touchdowns in two games, on 50 attempts. It's a tiny sample size, but Weisman has been at his best when the defense is bunched up at the line of scrimmage and he's able to get to the second level.
For example, when facing a third down with 1-3 yards to go, Weisman has 47 yards rushing. On third downs with 4-6 yards to go, he has 32 yards rushing.
More than half of Weisman's yards rushing have come on first down.
Wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley is one of two Iowa wideouts with more than four catches (Don Shumpert, four). Martin-Manley is averaging 8.58 yards a reception. He has caught two passes in the red zone.
Big tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz gives Rudock a nice option in the middle of the field and in the red zone (three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown inside the 20).
So, what can the Cyclones do?
It's a tricky test for defensive coordinator Wally Burnham , who faces a prelude to Big 12 play against an offense that has mixed in some no-huddle under offensive coordinator Greg Davis, whose spread offense at Texas was nearly unstoppable in its heyday.
Burnham would love to sit in his preferred 4-3 base all day and have three 'backers key Weisman. However, against a team that moves quickly and spreads the ball around, the Cyclones will find themselves in nickel more often than not.
It's a tricky test for defensive coordinator Wally Burnham as he faces a prelude to Big 12 play against an offense that has mixed in some no-huddle under offensive coordinator Greg Davis, whose spread offense at Texas was nearly unstoppable in its heyday.