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Original Issue

20 Iowa State


Starters returning: 7
Yards gained:


Style: 5-2
Starters returning: 7
Yards allowed:

After successive 8-3 seasons highlighted by superb defense and back-to-back victories over both Missouri and Nebraska, the Cyclones are poor no more. They will compete for the Big Eight title, and they will have candidates for both the Heisman Trophy and the Outland Award. Not bad for a team whose loftiest goal used to be a .500 season.

However, Coach Earle Bruce will not again be able to parlay a rugged defense with the element of surprise: the former has been diminished by graduation, the latter by those 16 victories. This season Bruce will rely more on his offense. That means Dexter Green, the 172-pound tailback who breaks tackles like a 230-pound fullback. Green rushed for 1,240 yards last season, and led the Big Eight in scoring with 15 touchdowns. This year he will shoot for his third straight 1,000-yard season, a career rushing milestone reached by only one other contemporary player in the Big Eight, Oklahoma State's Terry Miller.

To keep defenses guessing, Bruce is asking sophomore Quarterback Terry Rubly, who led the Big Eight in passing yardage with 1,028 last season, to continue putting the ball in the air. Rubly will operate behind a line averaging 6'4" and 235 pounds. "So tall and big," Bruce boasts, "that any quarterback could have trouble seeing down-field."

Defensively, Iowa State has lost two-fifths of its interior line, and while three starters return to the secondary, that unit intercepted only seven of 187 passes thrown against it in 1977. The defense, however, again will be well served by Outland candidate Mike Stensrud, a 6'5", 270-pound tackle who led the Big Eight in sacks, and by veteran Linebacker Tom Boskey, a sure tackier.

If the defense develops through the first four games, one of which is the state civil war with Iowa, the Cyclones will be ready for the real test. That will come in the first three weeks of October, when they meet Nebraska, Missouri and Oklahoma on successive Saturdays.