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Cyclone defense prepares for Oklahoma State’s ‘three-headed monster’

Ben+Nikkel+attempts+to+tackle+Iowa+punt+returner+Cooper+DeJean+at+Jack+Trice+Stadium+on+Sept.+9%2C+2023.
Tyler Coe
Ben Nikkel attempts to tackle Iowa punt returner Cooper DeJean at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.

Iowa State travels back to Ames after a tough loss to Ohio over the weekend in a game that many fans thought the Cyclones would take.

Now the Cyclones prepare for the start of the Big 12 season as the Oklahoma State Cowboys head to Ames to battle Iowa State on Saturday.

Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy seems to have an arsenal on offense as he has had three different quarterbacks playing. Those three are his son Gunnar Gundy, Alan Bowman and Garret Rangel, who all got reps in all three games they have played this season.

The style that Oklahoma State uses makes it difficult to prepare for opposing defenses, as defensive back Ben Nikkel gave his thoughts on how to prepare for the so-called “three-headed monster.”

“It’s challenging,” Nikkel said. “Each of them bring a different aspect to the game. We just gotta keep looking at film and prepare for them throughout the week.”

Bowman seems to be the leading passing quarterback for Oklahoma State, as he has accumulated 235 passing yards on 30 completions. He does not, however, have a passing touchdown, and he has thrown an interception, which could prove beneficial Saturday for the Iowa State defensive backs, headlined by Jeremiah Cooper.

Gundy seems to be the more rushing quarterback of the three, as he has rushed for 39 yards on 14 attempts in those three games as well. He has thrown for 202 passing yards and a touchdown, making him a dual-threat for the defense.

Rangel may seem like the odd man out, but he has not been as he has also started to show that he could be a dual-threat quarterback. He’s picked up 172 passing yards while throwing two passing touchdowns and an interception. Rangel also picked up 21 yards with his legs on six attempts.

Linebacker Will McLaughlin seems to have high hopes for the Cyclones’ defense to shut down the Cowboy offense as they’ve had their scouts help them prepare along the way.

“It definitely can get tough, especially at practice,” McLaughlin said. “Our scouts are really good running the ball and passing the ball. That helps us prepare for what they will use on us.”

The Cowboy offense does have other playmakers with great depth that give that offense an extra advantage against their opponents.

Wide receivers Jaden Bray and De’Zhaun Stribling have racked up over 100 yards in the three games they have played in.

While running backs Ollie Gordon II, Elijah Collins and Jaden Nixon have racked up over 90 yards rushing in the three games played this season.

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell has seen what Oklahoma State has done, and he looks to prepare his defense for a tough matchup this Saturday.

“They’ve got great wide receivers and have always had great tailbacks,” Campbell said. “Even all three quarterbacks have gotten experience, so you’re more prepping for the scheme instead of the personnel. So, it’ll really be a great challenge for our defense.”

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