Texas Longhorns vs Iowa State Cyclones football: Five players to watch

August 31, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Jeff Woody (32) is tackled by Northern Iowa Panthers linebacker Zach Cutkomp (23) in the second half at Jack Trice Stadium. Northern Iowa beat Iowa State 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA Today Sports

Obviously Iowa State’s Aaron Wimberly will be a focus against Texas, but what are some other running backs to watch in the Big 12 opener for the Cyclones? Also, we’ll highlight some defense for both teams.

Johnathan Gray (Texas running back, #32, So.)

It wouldn’t be right if the opposing team’s lead running back isn’t spotlighted. Gray finally broke out against Kansas State with season highs of 141 yards on 28 attempts with two touchdowns. He’s not the biggest back the Cyclones will face, but he’ll provide enough quickness to break through a weak defensive line.

Jeff Woody (Iowa State running back, #32, Sr.)

The other 32 won’t see as much action as Gray, but look to see if Iowa State puts him into short yardage and goal-line situations again this week. If so, we’ll see if he can pound it through the best defensive line the Cyclones have faced this season — history says he’s got this if the team can put him in position.

Jackson Jeffcoat (Texas defensive end, #44, Sr.)

He’s the star on defense and will threaten to make Sam Richardson’s life awful if the offensive line can’t hold up. Jeffcoat’s season was shortened to six games last season, but in his sophomore campaign he had 63 total tackles (34 solo), 17 of those were for a loss, eight sacks, broke up three passes, and forced seven quarterback hurries. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound monster will be one of the toughest ends the Cyclones will face all season.

[Also see: Scouting the Texas defense]

Jacques Washington (Iowa State defensive back, #5, Sr.)

I haven’t given specific defense players love on the Cyclones, so allow me to apologize to the free safety that currently leads the team with 31 total tackles (15 solo). He finished two consecutive seasons at 90 tackles.

Quandre Diggs (Texas cornerback, #6, Jr.)

Diggs had big shoes to fill at nickelback with having to replace Kenny Vaccaro. Richardson will have to avoid throwing near him as he ranks 18th in FBS career interceptions per game.

Topics: Football, Iowa State Cyclones, Jackson Jeffcoat, Jeff Woody, Johnathan Gray, Texas Longhorns

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