Iowa State Cyclones 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 73
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 99

When you look at the Iowa State Cyclones’ 2009 season, it doesn’t seem to make sense. The defense ranked 99th in yards allowed, and the offense ranked 103rd in scoring offense. Yet somehow this team managed seven wins, including a win in the Insight Bowl. Will the Cyclones be able to do it again?

The centerpiece of Iowa State’s offense is running back Alexander Robinson. He rushed for 1,195 yards last season, with a 5.2 yards per carry average. He is an explosive runner, and the team’s fortunes rest on his production.

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Austen Arnaud will try to reclaim and maintain his starting quarterback spot. He has started for at least part of his three previous seasons, but has never been able to put it all together. He shows flashes of ability, but can also make mistakes. He threw for 2,015 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and added another 561 yards and 8 scores on the ground.

The Cyclones don’t have a true number one receiver, but Jake Williams and Darius Darks will try to fill that void. They combined for 64 catches and over 700 yards last year. There weren’t any big time receivers last year also, which could have inhibited Arnaud’s ability to make plays.

The offensive line played very well, allowing only 16 sacks all year. Left tackle Kelechi Osemele, an All-Big 12 performer, headlines this group that is a big part of the Cyclones success.

The defense lost all three starting linebackers and three starters on the line. The line was one of the worst in the Big 12 though, so some new blood might not be so bad. The biggest loss will be felt in the absence of tackling machine Jesse Smith. The linebacker had 135 tackles and will be greatly missed.

Another major issue is the legal trouble of strong safety David Sims. The Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year used an unauthorized credit card to make a small purchase and has been suspended for the season opener. It remains to be seen how much time he will miss and how that will affect the team.

Iowa State’s schedule is ranked the toughest in the nation, with games against Iowa, Utah and on the road at Texas and Oklahoma. The team has some talent, but the defense will likely get bowled over against superior teams and regress from last season.

Iowa State’s odds to win the Big 12: + 8000

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