July 21, 2006

2006 Look Ahead: Iowa State Cyclones

OPPONENT 9: IOWA STATE CYCLONES
Oct. 28 @Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.

Returning Starters: 15 (10 offense, 4 defense, kicker)
2005 Record: 7-5
Coach: Dan McCarney

Cyclone to Watch: Running back Stevie Hicks (6-1, 212 Sr.)
Hicks hasn't been as productive as many perceive; he's averaged just 3.9 and 3.7 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons, but he's had some of his biggest games against the Wildcats. Last year in Ames Hicks ran for 149 yards in ISU's 45-17 mauling of K-State after racking up 156 yards in the Cyclones' comeback win in Manhattan in 2004. The Cyclone offense won't be easy to stop, especially if Hicks is running wild in the Wildcats secondary yet again.

Wildcat to Watch: Tight end Rashaad Norwood
Iowa State's offense looks to be talented enough to score points on anybody, meaning the Wildcats will have to answer with some offensive production of their own. The tight end position will be a focal point of K-State's attack, and Norwood could emerge as one of the Big 12's best tight ends by this point of the season if he continues to improve. Norwood did catch three passes for 59 yards in Ames last year.

Instant Analysis: Iowa State has yet to prove capable of winning a truly big game, but with 10 players with starting experience returning on offense, including quarterback Bret Meyer, the Cyclones will look to finally break through. ISU still hasn't played in a Big 12 Championship Game but could certainly push for their first appearance in Kansas City if a defense develops to compliment what could be an explosive offense.

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