Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Iowa State

Mel Kiper's archive: reviews, notebooks

Wednesday, December 27

Barlow, Bryant critical against Cyclones Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 28 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Iowa State (8-3) vs. Pittsburgh (7-4)

While Iowa State had a breakthrough year for head coach Dan McCarney, finishing with a solid 8-3 record, Pittsburgh and coach Walt Harris appear to have the necessary young talent to become a major factor nationally next season.

While outstanding senior running back Kevan Barlow moves on to the NFL, the Panthers will retain a ton of talent for the 2001 season. Leading the way is brilliant sophomore receiver Antonio Bryant. The athletically gifted 6-foot-2, 193-pounder has developed into a dynamic big-play deep threat, averaging over 19 yards per catch for the Panthers this season.

Other talented performers who will return for the 2001 season include redshirt freshman receiver Rod Rutherford, redshirt freshman tight end Kris Wilson, sophomore offensive lineman Bryan Anderson, freshman offensive lineman Jon Schnall, junior defensive end Bryan Knight, sophomore linebacker Gerald Hayes and sophomore defensive back Ramon Walker, just to name a few.

For Iowa State, senior quarterback Sage Rosenfels directs a Cyclone offense that averaged over 400 yards per game. Ennis Haywood is the primary headliner in the backfield, with cat-quick redshirt freshman Michael Wagner providing quite a dimension as a change-of-pace type.

On defense, the Cyclones boast a veteran defensive front, but the Panthers still figure to move the football. The ISU stop troop held down weak opposition, but it struggled some when pitted against the likes of Nebraska, Texas A&M and Kansas State.

Having a veteran like Rosenfels as well as a talented running back tandem in Haywood and Wagner figures to present a few problems for the Panther defense. That's why Barlow and Bryant need to be on top of their games in order for Pittsburgh to come away with the victory.

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