Cyclones ready for Toledo defense, first win at home


Blake Lanser/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt junior quarterback Sam Richardson evades Baylor’s defensive line on a quarterback keep during the second half of the Cyclones’ matchup with the No. 7 Baylor Bears. Richardson now has 24 career touchdown passes and ranks 10th on Iowa State’s career completions chart. Iowa State fell to Baylor with a final score of 49-28.

Beau Berkley

Sure, a top ranked team in the Mid American-Conference isn’t always highlighted on the schedule, but after a two-game losing streak to ranked opponents, ISU football needs to regain some momentum. 

Iowa State (1-4, 0-3 Big 12) welcomes Toledo (4-2, 3-0 MAC) at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday, Oct. 11 to Jack Trice Stadium. Toledo, in contrast to Iowa State’s recent results, is riding high on a three game win streak, including a 20-19 overtime win against Western Michigan last weekend. 

“This is a team that’s on a three game win streak, leading the MAC west and putting up a lot of points and they scare us just as much as our first five opponents have for sure, but it’s our next opportunity [for a win],” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. 

Toledo’s rush defense is ranked 30th in the nation, holding teams to 115.7 yards per game. Toledo’s rush defense is the favorite on paper against the ISU rushing attack, which has been dysmal this season, averaging 107.6 yards per game.

But offensive coordinator Mark Mangino says he has seen improvement in the rush game, as ISU running backs were able to break away for some moderate gains, including a sixteen yard scamper from Aaron Wimberly.

Up front, Toledo has a few players that lead the defensive line. Defensive tackles Treyvon Hester and Orion Jones have combined for seven tackles for loss and Jones has three sacks on the season.

But the Toledo defense isn’t perfect. With a few holes in the secondary, quarterback Sam Richardson and his receiving corps might be able to exploit the Rockets downfield.

Toledo is giving up 325.7 passing yards per game, one of the worst averages in the nation. Iowa State has relied on the passing game up to this point while the coaching staff sorts out the troubles in the backfield.

“There’s definitely some shots we can take in the secondary and we got to get our run game going, so trying to do a little bit of everything,” Richardson said.

Mangino said that even though Toledo’s pass defense has not been statistically successful thus far, they still pose some problems. 

“The thing about them is they give you a lot of different looks,” Mangino said. “They put people on the move all the time, so we have to be disciplined in both facets of the game.” 

Along with a group of young receivers, Richardson has tight end E.J. Bibbs to look for downfield. After stalling for a few games, Bibbs reemerged in the offense last week after catching two touchdown passes from Richardson, one of which was a one-handed grab near the pylon.

“I think its a bad matchup on any Saturday for a defense that’s trying to cover him,” Richardson said of Bibbs.