AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State’s running back-by-committee experiment looks to be over.
The Cyclones have found their man.
Junior Aaron Wimberly established himself as the go-to back with a breakout performance in Iowa State’s 38-21 victory at Tulsa last week. Carrying 19 times for 137 yards — an impressive 7.2-yard average — the transfer from Iowa Western Community College gave the running game some much-needed juice as the Cyclones (1-2) prepare for Thursday night’s visit from Texas (2-2).
“We certainly have packages that will work that will involve other backs,” coach Paul Rhoads said Monday. “But yeah, he’s our guy.”
Wimberly shared time with James White and Shontrelle Johnson in Iowa State’s first two games and was given just 10 carries. Iowa State averaged only 3.3 yards per carry in those contests and managed just 59 yards on the ground in a 27-21 loss to Iowa.
Rhoads decided in the days leading up to the Tulsa game to make Wimberly the primary ball carrier. The 5-foot-9, 173-pounder promptly produced the first 100-yard rushing game by an Iowa State tailback since Johnson did it in the 2012 season opener.
Wimberly’s performance, which included a 35-yard run and a 31-yard pass reception, wasn’t lost on Texas coach Mack Brown.
“In our league right now, speed is everything and he’s just got tremendous speed,” Brown said. “Every time he touches the ball, he’s got a chance to score. He makes them a different team at tailback.”