Johnson, rush attack a focus of ISU defense

Jeremy Gustafson

When Cortlen Johnson comes to Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, rest assured he will be noticed.

But will he be stopped? That is the question the ISU defense hopes to answer with a yes.

“When you’re looking at a running team coming in,” ISU defensive lineman Jordan Carstens said, “it’s definitely a big focus for us.”

Stopping Johnson, the Colorado tailback who has been averaging 7 yards per carry, won’t be easy. Iowa State has been giving up 205.5 yards per game on the ground, including 343 yards by Kansas State last week.

“The running game hasn’t really been one of our strong-points,” added Carstens.

Despite, the Wildcats’ success against the Cyclones, the task gets much bigger this week. Literally.

The Colorado offensive line averages just over 6-foot, 4-inches and 304 pounds. “In practice, going against the best on our team,” Carstens said, will help the defense prepare.

While a week of practice can help the Cyclones get ready for Colorado, nothing could prepare the team for what happened last week – a 42-3 loss to Kansas State.

“We were so ready for that game,” ISU safety Adam Runk said of Kansas State. “We put so much into preparing for that game and to come out and get physically and mentally beaten, it was really hard to take.”

Runk a senior who has watched Iowa State go 3-8, 4-7 and 9-3, has seen the highs and lows.

He said the Kansas State game was “with the lows definitely.”

As the Cyclones take the field in hopes of securing a winning season and bowl eligibility, Runk said they will have “a bad taste in their mouth.”

Carstens said the contest will be a “make-or-break” game for Iowa State.

“This is definitely the biggest game of our season,” Carstens said.