Don’t take your eyes off …
The Cyclones feel they should be able to take away at least one side of the field when Washington State is on offense. That’s a luxury they usually have with cornerback Brian Peavy, a redshirt senior from Houston who’s making his final college appearance in his home state. The All-Big 12 player was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus and recorded a team-high eight pass breakups this year to go with his four tackles for loss, one interception, two forced fumbles and 51 tackles. Peavy’s been successful despite his small stature – the four-time all-conference selection is listed at 5-foot-9, 194 pounds – and graded out as one the best DBs in the country, allowing just 16 receptions on 38 targets, according to PFF.
When WSU has the ball …
Perhaps nothing spoke to the depth of the WSU wide receiving corps better than the fact that the Cougars, despite passing for 4,557 yards this season, didn’t land a single player on the all-conference teams. It was suspected before the season that this could be Mike Leach’s deepest receiver group, and the stats don’t to point to anything less. ISU will have to account for at least 10 pass-catchers in the Alamo Bowl – all eight WRs can make plays, as can both of the running backs. The Cougars didn’t have any surpass 740 receiving yards this season, but behind Dezmon Patmon’s total, they had eight players with 200 yards or more and four others with 400-plus. Nine players reeled in at least 20 passes during the regular season and the touchdowns were also fairly scattered. Tay Martin and Easop Winston each had eight, while James Williams, Renard Bell, Max Borghi and Patmon all had four.
When ISU has the ball …
There won’t be many glaring holes when Matt Campbell’s offense takes the field. The Cyclones are relatively balanced on offense – at least, compared to their opponent – having thrown the ball 336 times this year and run it 427. While they haven’t matched wits with every one of their foes in the offense-dominated Big 12 Conference, the Cyclones are well above average at all of the key position. The quarterback, Brock Purdy, is a freshman who’s played above his experience level this season and demonstrated good mobility with three touchdown runs and 390 rushing yards. Their running back, David Montgomery, is a fringe All-American who averaged just shy of 100 yards per game (99.2) and found his way into the end zone 12 times. Their top wide receiver is a 6-6 giant named Hakeem Butler, who’s scoring a touchdown once every 5.6 receptions on average. ISU’s offensive line has been sturdy, seeing as how the Cyclone QBs were sacked just 28 times this year.
Did you know?
Andre Dillard, the Cougars’ veteran left tackle, will be the only senior offensive line starter in the Alamo Bowl. Next to the All-American tackle, WSU is relatively young on the offensive line, starting sophomore left guard Josh Watson, junior center Fred Mauigoa, sophomore right guard Liam Ryan and freshman right tackle Abraham Lucas. Meanwhile, the Cyclones don’t have a senior on their OL, starting junior left tackle Julian Good, junior left guard Collin Olson, freshman center Colin Newell, junior right guard Josh Knipfel and junior right tackle Bryce Meeker.
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