Iowa State’s Defensive Unit Ranks Total Defensive (284.4) – 1st in Big 12; 10th nationally Scoring Defense (16.3) – 1st in Big 12; 9th nationally Rushing Defense (110.6) – 1st in Big 12; 18th nationally Passing Defense (173.9) – 1st in Big 12; 12th nationally 3rd Down Defense (31 percent) – 16th nationally First Downs Allowed (142) – 12th nationally The Cyclones held Iowa to 150 yards, Kansas to 213 yards, West Virginia to 200 yards and Ohio to 233 yards this season. In the second half of games, ISU is allowing just 6.1 points (fifth nationally) and just 110.1 yards (2nd nationally).
ISU’s opponents are averaging 18.4 points less than what they have averaged in all other games. Of ISU’s nine opponents, seven have scored at least 10 points per game fewer than in their previous games, including four opponents scoring at least 20 points fewer than their other games average.
Will McDonald has tied Texas A&M great Von Miller on the Big 12 career sacks list with 33.0 in his career. He is one sack shy of Aaron Hunt’s career record. McDonald has been a dominant force for the Cyclones. His 33.0 sacks are a school record, while also ranking third in tackles for a loss (40.0) and second in fumbles forced (9). The top four players in school history for TFL have played under Heacock, while the top two sack leaders have as well.
This season, a pair of Cyclones rank among the Big 12’s top 10 with two interceptions each. Transfer LB Colby Reeder has picked off two passes in his first season as a Cyclone, while Anthony Johnson Jr. made the move from cornerback to safety and has two INTs, indicating Heacock’s ability to put players in a position to succeed.
Iowa State’s defensive unit is incredibly well rounded with nine starters each with more than 25 tackles. Five of those players have a takeaway as well (FR or INT).