COMMENTARY: Long road ahead for Cyclones

Corey Aldritt

The next five weeks will tell us a lot about the 2007 football team. Four of the next five opponents are ranked in the top 25 and the combined record of the next five opponents is 18-2.

The Cyclones will be heavy underdogs in all five games and their best chance at a win will probably come this week at Nebraska. The Cornhuskers famous Blackshirt defense is more of a light gray this year.

Nebraska outlasted Ball State, 41-40, last week in Lincoln, giving up more than 600 yards of offense to the Cardinals.

Now, I can’t see the Cyclones putting up those kinds of numbers on Saturday but Iowa State should be able to score over 30 if their offense is clicking.

The Cyclones’ best defense will be to keep the offense on the field. The Cornhuskers have the worst run defense in the Big 12, so the Cyclones need to hand the ball to J.J. Bass all day.

If Iowa State wants to win in Lincoln for the first time since 1977, they will need to win the turnover battle.

The last game the Cyclones forced more turnovers than they committed was the 2006 Iowa game.

Since that game, Iowa State has gone 3-10. Nebraska has turned the ball over nine times this season, so the opportunities will be there.

Iowa State also has the chance for an upset for the simple fact that Bill Callahan is the Nebraska coach. I’ve never seen a coach try and fit a square peg into a round hole quite like him.

The Cornhuskers had a storied tradition of running the punishing triple-option offense, which they ran until opposing defenses waved the white flag.

Since Callahan has taken the reigns in 2004, he has transformed Nebraska into a West Coast offense team with mixed results.

Watching the Nebraska faithful try to embrace Callahan is like watching Han Solo walk into a “Star Trek” convention.

The Cyclones are going to have to show the same fire they did for the Iowa game if they want to keep this contest close.

If they don’t turn the ball over and contain the Nebraska offense then the game should be decided in the fourth quarter. I just hope the game doesn’t come down to special teams, because Ames doesn’t need to see a sudden spike in whiskey consumption again.

– Corey Aldritt is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Eden Prarie, Minn.