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Northern Illinois @ Iowa State Preview

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Offensive Gameplan

Just continue what you are used to doing and run the ball. Run left, run right and throw in some screens there. Iowa State's defense isn't very experienced at all. The Cyclones front seven is almost completely new. They lost all threee of their linebackers and their top-2 players on the DL. This is all from a team that finished 111th in getting to the QB last season.

Secondary is supposed to be their strength, as Leonard Johnson (64 tkls, 2 ints LY) is going to be the best player on that side of the ball when it comes to gametime. SS David Sims is still going to be suspended for the opener. The other corner Ter'Ran Benton recovered from a broken leg to start in the Insight Bowl.

We are breaking in 3 new starters in offensive line, so this may not be so easy. Whoever the quarterback may be (I'm picking Grady) needs to step it up when need be and keep this defense honest. A WR needs to step it up and make some serious plays downfield.

Defensive Gameplan

This is supposed to be the best defensive line in history and they have to play to their maximum potential if we want to get the victory. There is just so much talent and experience headlined by Jake Coffman that I am sure they will be able to keep the Huskies in the game. RB Alexander Robinson (1,195 yds, 6 TDs) is their main weapon and I'm sure the defense can take care of him.

Linebackers need to step it up from being mediocre last year to defend the spread attack that ISU is going to throw at us. We face mobile QBs in practice every day, so defending Austen Arnaud shouldn't be a problem. The secondary needs to not give up the big play, as they did so much last year. Remember the beginning of the Wisconsin game? Yeah, that can't happen again.

History in the Making

It's not like we haven't beaten the Cyclones before. In 2003 we defeated them at home 24-16. Chad Spann, like Michael Turner needs to have a good game on the ground. Grady/Harnish needs to play like Josh Haldi, not Phil Horvath. That means keep turnovers to a minimum. Don't make the dumb play, just play to your abilities and be a game manager.

It's been a while, but we've been in this spot before. This team should be the best since that 2004 squad, maybe even better.