Here's a look at how Iowa State matches up with Oklahoma State.
Iowa State pass offense vs. OSU pass defense
It's been two consecutive forgettable games for ISU quarterback Sam Richardson, who's 1-7 as a starter in his career. Richardson was pulled in the second quarter against Baylor and replaced by Grant Rohach, but it's Richardson who'll start Saturday. Last week he completed 50 percent of his passes, still better than his clip against Texas Tech (39.5). Most troublesome has been his yards per attempt the last two games, 4.4 and 4.9, putrid numbers even in an offense that dinks and dunks.
He's going against the eighth-best passing defense in the conference, but steer clear: The Cowboys make opposing quarterbacks pay for bad decisions, with 12 interceptions.
A matchup to watch is ISU wide receiver Quenton Bundrage against cornerback Justin Gilbert, a playmaker in both facets of the game.
ISU run offense vs. OSU run defense
The Cyclones would like to get what they can out of Aaron Wimberly but it's been hard with an offensive line that can't pull its own weight. Watch that discombobulated unit Saturday and it's no surprise the Cyclones have yet to start the same bunch of five. Lapses in protection are rampant.
Combine ISU's inexperience up front with OSU's stoutness — second in the conference in run yards allowed per game (117) and third in average (3.22) — and there's cause for serious concern.
ISU pass defense vs. OSU pass offense
The good news? Oklahoma State is suffering from a similar set of offensive problems as Iowa State? The Cowboys have taken to shuffling around their parts to correct a distressed offensive line, but it hasn't paid off much, and they too are unsettled at the quarterback position. Head coach Mike Gundy hasn't said who will start between J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf, Walsh being a risk-reward player while Chelf has a steadier hand.
Whoever's quarterback has a buffet of easy passing options. The Cowboys utilize a heavy screen game — especially to quickster Josh Stewart. They'll also look to exploit zone deficiencies in the middle of the field.
The Cyclones have the worst pass offense in the conference in terms of yards given up per game, but that number is skewed a bit as they're one of only two teams to have faced both Texas Tech and Baylor.
ISU run defense vs. OSU run offense
Again, more good news for Cyclones fans, as the Cowboys have also struggled to run the ball, seventh in yards per game (136) and average (3.9) among conference opponents. Running backs Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland haven't lived up to expectations — Smith excelled the last two seasons as a No. 2 option but hasn't done a good job carrying the burden of a No. 1 back — while the offensive line, as mentioned above, is not very good.
Iowa State, however, has struggled against the run, giving up 4.81 yards a carry, so this could well be the game the Cowboys get going.
Against Texas, Iowa State saw a bit of the diamond formation but will see more of it against the Cowboys.