Aggie linebackers pose problems for ISU offense

Zac Reicks

Texas A&M’s wrecking crew defense has made its name through the destruction of opposing offenses.

With a stellar run defense highlighting a solid overall group, the “crew” has led A&M to a 6-1 overall record and 3-1 record in the Big 12 Conference.

Iowa State will take on this very team with something to prove after the Aggies handed them a 30-7 drubbing at Jack Trice Stadium last season.

Someone who remembers that game quite well is senior offensive lineman Marcel Howard. He had firsthand experience of the worst loss Iowa State suffered at home last season, and it is something that he has not forgotten.

“Anytime you face the situation we did last year, you want to redeem yourself,” Howard said. “It’s payback time.”

ISU travels south to Kyle Field brimming with confidence after dominating Oklahoma State 28-14 last week with a superior effort from their rushing attack.

The Aggies will look to slow Ennis Haywood and company by relying on an athletic and talented front seven that has caused fits for offenses all season.

Leading the way for A&M will be junior linebacker Jarrod Penright.

The 6-foot-2-inch, 240 pounder has tallied 10 sacks on the season and is a threat to rush the quarterback on every passing down.

Teamed with All-American candidate Ty Warren on the defensive line, the Aggies have star power shining all over the field.

“Penright’s got great speed, acceleration and athleticism,” ISU head coach Dan McCarney said. “He beats a lot of people one on one, so we will have to do a good job of protecting our quarterback.”

Seneca Wallace could be the difference maker in a game where an athletic quarterback could give the A&M defense a world of trouble.

Aggie head coach R.C. Slocum has a lot of respect for Wallace and what he brings to the Cyclone team.

“I saw a stat the other day that said he completed over 50 percent of their third downs and a lot of that goes to Wallace,” Slocum said. “He is one of the best quarterbacks in the league.”

The job of protecting Wallace once again falls upon the sturdy shoulders of Howard and the rest of the offensive line.

“We just need to play the same type of game like we did against Oklahoma State,” Howard said. “We were pretty dominant and controlled the ball the whole game, and we will try to do that again.”

When it comes down to it, Iowa State’s offensive line will need to win the battle of the trenches and come up big against the Aggies on Saturday.

The only way to gain the national respect that the Cyclones so desperately crave will be to earn it inch by inch, yard by yard, in College Station.