Matchup to watch

Max Dible

The matchup to watch when Texas Christian comes to town this week isn’t about one unit against another unit. It’s about an entire side of the ball against one player: the ISU defense opposing TCU quarterback and Heisman candidate, Trevone Boykin.

Boykin has already amassed more than 2,100 passing yards and chucked 21 touchdown passes in only six games this season, not to mention scampering into the end zone for four rushing touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 366 yards over the course of TCU’s 6-0 start to the season. 

Iowa State’s defense, which allowed only 13 points at home against Kansas two weeks ago, was lit up by Texas Tech to the tune of 66 points while allowing 776 yards of total offense, tying an ISU record for defensive ineptitude.

TCU has suffered through a litany of injuries in 2015 and has had its fair share of scares so far this season, particularly on the road, requiring big plays in the final seconds of games at Texas Tech and at Kansas State to escape with victories.

That plays into the ISU defense’s hands as the game is slotted for 6 p.m. at Jack Trice Stadium. But even when the defense has played well at home, it has struggled against quarterbacks who can move the sticks with their feet.

UNI quarterback Aaron Bailey scrambled for 85 yards in the Cyclones’ home opener, and that number was well over 100 yards before being adjusted for losses sustained via ISU sacks.

Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard ventured into Ames the next week and finished the game with 77 rushing yards, but once again, actually scampered for well over 100 yards on the ground before yardage was adjusted for sacks.

Most of the quarterback scrambles in those two games came in big moments, led to first downs or scoring drives, and shifted momentum as well as the field position battles even when they didn’t result in points.

TTU quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t run wild on the Cyclones, but he didn’t have to as he threw for 428 yards and five touchdowns.

Iowa State must contain Boykin if it hopes for any result other than a rout. The Cyclones must combine a pass rush that has accumulated 15 sacks this season with the discipline to set the edge, stay on assignment and contain Boykin on the ground.

If they can accomplish that, they’ll at least be able to give the fans a reason to stick around past halftime. If they can’t, ugly may not even be a strong enough word to describe the onslaught that will follow.