Dating back to his time at Nebraska, Cody Green is 2-1 in his career against the Cyclones.
"I've seen enough of him to know he'll lead their team to victory," ISU coach Paul Rhoads said of Green, now the starter at Tulsa.
At first blush, the record reads like an anomaly, because Green has never posted good numbers against Iowa State. He's completed 49 percent of his passes against the Cyclones, for two scores and three interceptions, with 1.7 yards per rush.
In fact, Iowa State is designing its gameplan to make sure Green has the ball in his hands Thursday when the two teams face off. That way, Tulsa's stellar running backs won't have it.
"[Force] Green to hold the ball [on options] and really [force] him to pass," as Jacques Washington described it Sunday.
That's what the Cyclones did in the Liberty Bowl: In my video review, I counted Green handing the ball off seven times on the read-option while keeping it thrice. But it didn't always work. Green took advantage of lax attention, twice rushing for 10 yards out of a five-wide, shotgun set with a gaping hole in the middle of the field. Green also scored on an inverted veer keeper and gained big yardage on another run (the play art for the veer can be found below).
"He's a very physical runner, they will challenge our defense with that extra gap," Rhoads said. "He's absolutely a more than capable passer."
The second part of that statement isn't something I'd agree with. Green took advantage of several play-action fakes against the Cyclones but was not sharp dropping back or when hurried. He's at his best when he's firing quick screens to his choice of playmaker (Tulsa loves the bubble screen, especially packaged with the read-option).
On the season, Green is completing 52 percent of his passes for 610 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He's making those completions count, too, with 16 over 15 yards and four over 25. Because of that low completion percentage, Green is only averaging 5.8 yards per attempt.
The Cyclones will encourage Green to test them deep and they'd be wise to take away the running game in the red zone, where Green is 5-for-13.
In Tulsa's season-opening loss to Iowa State last season, Green attempted 49 passes and completed 23, with two interceptions. If the Cyclones can make him do that again on Thursday, they'd likely pick up their first win of the season.