This week, we’ve started a new series examining the most indispensable player for every team in the Big 12. In other words, who is the player each team could least afford to lose to injury?
We’re knocking on wood before we turn in these posts; so no need to worry about a jinx.
We continue with the Iowa State Cyclones.
Most indispensable player: Center Tom Farniok
Why Iowa State can't afford to lose him: The first two games of the 2013 season against Northern Iowa and Iowa, Farniok sat out with an MCL sprain. And the Cyclones, unable to finish off drives, lost in both.
When Farniok returned for Week 3, Iowa State racked up 434 yards of offense and crushed Tulsa, 38-21. The following week, the Cyclones were a controversial play at the end away from toppling Texas, too.
When healthy, Aaron Wimberly can be a dazzling runner. Pass-catching tight end E.J. Bibbs can create nightmare matchups for the opponent. And wideout Quenton Bundrage was third in the Big 12 last year in touchdown catches.
But no player seems to bring a calming effect to the Iowa State offense more than Farniok, who has already started 35 games in his career.
Under new coordinator Mark Mangino and with a host of experienced playmakers back, the Cyclones have a chance to field their best offense in a long time. But as he has proven, Iowa State's All-Big 12-caliber center will be the glue that keeps it all together.