Iowa State's run game can't get off ground

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State can't seem to run the ball and their season largely depends on turning that around.

Iowa State rushed for just 63 yards last weekend in a 31-17 home loss to rival Iowa. The Hawkeyes leaned heavily on defending the pass and shut out Iowa State in the second half.

The Cyclones (1-1) are dead last among Power Five teams with just 70 yards rushing per game. It doesn't get any easier Saturday at Toledo: The Rockets are coming off an upset of then-ranked Arkansas in Little Rock.

''I continue to talk about the running game because it's not going away. It's something you have to do. You can't abandon it,'' Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said.

Even though the Cyclones are severely inexperienced in the backfield, their poor execution against the Hawkeyes was more about their linemen than anything else. That's a bad sign for Iowa State, which believed its line would be better this season.

The Cyclones have four upperclassmen blocking for its four-man rotation of backs, none of whom have more than 200 career yards on the ground. But guard Daniel Burton should return to the starting lineup after battling back from knee surgery.

''It's the little stuff. Steps, hands, bent knees,'' guard Wendell Taiese said.

Rhoads also hinted Monday that Iowa State's offensive coaches, led by Mark Mangino, will look to switch up some of its schemes to help the offense.

''I don't know if it's just all offensive line,'' he said. ''Our coaching staff needs to give them some help. The easy answer to that is...to move (opponents) downfield to allow the ball carrier more space to run in. Now, how can I help you get that done as a coaching staff?''

There's still time for the Cyclones to fix their ground game. They've got a bye next week and then a home game against Kansas, which is 0-2 and surrendering an average of 48 points per game. Iowa State does have a senior quarterback in Sam Richardson and several talented receivers.

But the Cyclones struggled to run the ball last year too, and only Tulane, Central Florida and Western Michigan have fewer yards per game so far.

''We've got our people. We're playing our folks,'' Rhoads said. ''It has to deal with scheme and what we can adjust, what we can change to be more fruitful.''

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP and on Facebook at www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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