The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

September 26, 2013

Iowa State, Tulsa set for rubber match

(Continued)

"You're going to continue to see a number of backs in there," Rhoads said. He's not kidding either. Iowa State has five backs listed on their latest depth chart, and all of them are designated as possible starters.

2. TGI THURSDAY: Iowa State and Tulsa have each had 12 days off to prepare for a rare Thursday night kickoff. But Blankenship isn't bothered because it'll be a national broadcast — and gives the Golden Hurricane some added rest before and after the game.

"If you have to have one that gets you out of sync, I don't mind having an extra two or three days to prepare and an extra two or three days when we're done." The Cyclones also don't mind, since it helps prepare them to host Texas next Thursday.

3. CENTERED: Iowa State's beleaguered offensive line should get a major boost with the return of center Tom Farniok. He's expected to start after tearing a ligament in his knee in the opener. That was followed by a similar injury to backup Jamison Lalk against Iowa — and continuity has been a big reason why the Cyclones line has been underwhelming so far.

4. GROUND UP: Tulsa beat Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl in large part by running for 317 yards. Trey Watts was named the game's MVP after rushing for 149 yards, and he is averaging 5.5 yards a carry this season.

"They had that look in their eye in the fourth quarter that they didn't want anymore. That's what you want as an offensive lineman. It was a huge win for us," Tulsa guard Jake Alexander said.

5. ROAD STUDS: Iowa State has been surprisingly successful in its road openers under Rhoads, winning three of four. The Cyclones beat UConn in 2011 and Iowa last season. Oh, and Iowa State is 9-2 in its last 11 games played on Thursday.

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