On Saturday, Iowa State football will be back in Ames for its fourth home game of the year.
The Cyclones will take the field against Texas Christian University at Jack Trice Stadium, with hopes to bounce back from a close loss to Baylor.
“I’ve got no shame or disappointment in our football team right now,” said coach Matt Campbell.
TCU is 3-1 with its one loss coming to Southern Methodist University (SMU) by a score of 41-38.
TCU’s offense will provide a challenge for Iowa State in one area — the run.
TCU is averaging 275.3 rushing yards per game as a team while only averaging 213.3 passing yards. There is a multitude of reasons for this, with the most important being that the Horned Frogs have solid running backs that their offense runs through.
TCU senior running back Darius Anderson has run for 483 yards this season and has done that on only 59 carries, good for 8.2 yards per rushing attempt. Anderson is currently 13th in the FBS in rushing yards, but his average per attempt is much higher than 11 of the 12 in front of him.
One of the reasons he hasn’t been fed the ball so much is because of the other guy the Horned Frogs have back there — Sewo Olonilua.
Olonilua hasn’t been quite as good as Anderson, but he has garnered enough respect through demand carries. He has 202 yards on 39 rush attempts, which is good for 5.2 yards per rush.
“It’s really been impressive to watch on film,” said defensive coordinator Jon Heacock. “They’re basically running the football right over people right now.”
The run game is something Iowa State will need to focus on if they’ll have any chance of stopping the Horned Frog attack.
Through the air, TCU hasn’t been as effective, but the Horned Frogs have been able to limit mistakes, which is something Campbell would like to see his team work on.
“We’ve won a lot of games maybe in the last two years in those margins,” Campbell said. “If you look back our last six, seven, eight games, we’ve seemed to lose some games in the margins.”
At the forefront of limiting mistakes for the Horned Frogs is true freshman quarterback Max Duggan.
Duggan hails out of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Iowa State spent time trying to bring him to Ames.
Along with a pedestrian 53 percent completion percentage, Duggan has thrown for seven touchdowns in parts of four games and hasn’t thrown an interception yet.
“Man, I’m a big fan of Max,” Campbell said. “For Max, it’s a lot of respect to who he is, and him going somewhere else doesn’t change my appreciation for who he is.”
On Iowa State’s side of the ball, its offense has had problems finishing drives in the end zone so far in the season.
Whether it’s no clear answer in the run game, mistakes by a young quarterback or an offensive line that is banged up, there always seems to be something stopping the Cyclones just before they can get deep into enemy territory.
The Horned Frogs defense gave up 41 points to SMU, but aside from this, they haven’t given up 15 or more points in any game this season.
Iowa State’s offense will have its hands full on Saturday as its defense attempts to stop a relentless rushing attack.
Sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy is not worried.
“We haven’t really clicked that well offensively throughout a whole game, besides the Louisiana-Monroe game,” Purdy said. “If we can learn from that, I feel like we can help out our defense when we’re making stops.”