Toledo vs Iowa State football: Five keys to victory


Iowa State finishes up their non-conference slate with Toledo, and it’s definitely one of the three easier matchups on the schedule. It’s no pushover, though. Find out what the Cyclones need to do on offense to get their second win of the season and keep bowl hopes faintly alive.

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1. Finally, an opponent on the level that Iowa faces each week.

This is not meant to be a smack toward Toledo, it’s just a testament to how hard the Cyclones’ schedule is. Take away Kansas from the schedule and either the Hawkeyes or the Rockets are the easiest team on the slate. The thing is, Toledo is vice-versa to Iowa: Great offense with a struggling defense.

2. Cyclones defense can’t take a day off.

It’s an easier opponent that has a backup quarterback in, but Iowa State’s defense needs to be sharp. The Rockets are ranked 17th nationally in total offense, but that will be hammered just a bit without leading running back Kareem Hunt. Three key skillplayers to watch: receivers Alonzo Russell and Corey Jones, and backup freshman running back Terry Swanson.

Oct 4, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Sam B. Richardson (12) is sacked by Oklahoma State Cowboys linebacker Ryan Simmons (52) during the first half at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

3. Sam Richardson needs to give the receivers a chance to make a play.

There were a number of great defensive plays by Oklahoma State and their defenders did a great job on the Cyclone receivers, but there’s no excuses that the taller, bigger athletes couldn’t be more productive. E.J. Bibbs had two touchdowns, and he should be able to do the same this week. Allen Lazard should see the end zone a couple of times, too. Why do I say that? Well…

4. Toledo ranks 125th in pass defense.

If the running game can’t get going, then pass on every single play. I’m serious. Outside of Ball State, whose offense looks pretty similar to SMU, every opponent has thrown for 291 yards or more on them. Cincinnati had 436 yards. Western Michigan has 388 yards. The time for Iowa State to finally blow through their 206.4 yards passing per game.

5. If Richardson can’t do it, pull the trigger and put in Grant Rohach.

I hate to say it, but this is a game where I hope Paul Rhoads has a hook at the beginning of the game and isn’t afraid to use it. Toledo’s defense is clearly better at one thing (rush defense) than the other (pass defense). Iowa State doesn’t need Richardson’s legs; they need an arm. If things aren’t clicking early, don’t be afraid to put in Rohach.