Baylor 49, Iowa State 26: The Breakdown

Emotions were running really high for me on Saturday night. ISU started the game off better than they have any all year (great opening drive, forced 2 TOs on D), my FSN video feed went out for 40 minutes resulting in me watching a crappy internet feed + latin music on my TV. The video eventually came back, and it all went downhill going forward.

 

There are a slew of reasons why fans would say the Cyclones ended up losing: the turnover margin was a push, the turnover scoring margin was -7, the team committed too many costly penalties, the refs screwed the team over (if you've read me you know I HATE this excuse), etc., etc., etc.

 I am going to point out 1 statistic that really sums it all up: 1st down success rate.

A play is considered a successful one on 1st down if it results in 4 yards or more. If you can have a high success rate, it creates more opportunities for short yardage situations on 3rd down, which results in more 3rd down conversions, continued drives, more points, etc.

With the exception of garbage time, Baylor had 46 1st downs. On those 46 1st downs, 30 plays were 4 yards or more, having a success rate of 65% or so (50% is considered good). ISU on the flip side, had 27 1st downs, and 12 successful plays (44%). The Iowa State defense just got eaten alive on first downs for the most part, most of which happened in the running game.

Iowa State committed to limiting the damage RGIII could inflict, and did so at the expense of leaving a ton of space up the gut. Baylor would routinely spread the offense, clearing up the middle. The Baylor O-Line would dominate our D-Line, leaving Knott on an island to either try to tackle the RB coming full speed, or having to come off a 2nd level block to make the tackle. When Givens and Washington are in the Top 5 in tackles for a game, it isn't a good sign.

Probably the most disappointing part about the game for me was not the officiating, or even the lack of defense (even though it was annoying me). It was the fact that Baylor was clearly weak against the run and we ran the ball only 33 times out of the 68 offensive plays they ran. If you throw out the 5 times Jantz was sacked, and the 5 times or so the play broke down and Jantz ran, the play calling was probably more like 23 runs vs. 45 pass calls. I understand Iowa State was down and needed to pass, but it wasn't a 2 possession game until 10:00 left in the 3rd quarter, and it was about to become a 1 possession game with 8:00 left in the 3rd had the Jantz fumble not happened.

Going forward, the team needs to play better. There are still too many penalties, not enough QB protection, and too many battles lost in the trenches on defense.

It doesn't get any easier as the Cyclones face Mizzou next. Mizzou may be 2-3, but they are a better team than their record indicates. To make matters worse, Mizzou opted out of having the game on FCS, so the game is set to a 1 PM CDT kick with NO TV. For those of you able to make the trip to Columbia, enjoy your time in SEC country.

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