The 3 weeks prior to Texas A&M have been an embarrassment for Iowa State if you ask me. Everybody talking about how this is the best team in the Paul Rhoads era, and the defense plays like ass while the offense is turning the ball over like it's their job. I was tired of it, and was almost ready to cash it in on the football season.
Well, sort of. After Rhoads made the switch to Barnett the team did start playing better. I am not sure if the team responded like "oh wow anybody can lose their job if they suck", or what really happened to be honest. The team came out and just lost. They didn't get kicked in the junk, but straight up got beat by a better team.
And then some Paul Rhoads coaching type of stuff happened this week. The Cyclones traveled to Lubbock to take on a ranked team, and the Cyclones did what they have done each of the previous years Rhoads has been here, which was winning a game on the road nobody expected them to do.
While I will always take a win, the great thing about this one is that it gives us fans something to continue to watch for. The team needs to beat Kansas and pull off 1 more upset to go to a bowl game. Not highly likely, but had this team lost, we'd be looking at the team needing to pull off 2 upsets and Kansas to go. I've got something to watch over the next 4 weeks, and am excited about the end of the season.
Going back to the game, how did they win? First, I think it was clear that Texas Tech was not ready to go while Iowa State was. Tech got outcoached from that aspect. The other, was that on offense Iowa State stuck to things they were good at. They ran the ball 67 times while threw 25 times. They asked Barnett to make plays with his legs more-so than his arm (although he did complete some nice passes), and for the first time in a while the offense looked good.
Two weeks ago, after getting destroyed by MIzzou, I asked for this. I stated that the strength of this team was to run the ball. They need to be a run-first team, but still be respectable in the air to keep the defenses honest. As a result, you've got James White running for 138 yards, Duck Hollis for 101 yards, and Barnett for 92 yards. ISU averaged 5.5 yards/carry and scored 4 TDs.
Everybody following this offense has talked about needing explosive plays. And while you need to make plays through the air at times, it is clear that guys like White, Hollis, and Barnett can make explosive plays with their legs. We don't have a great passer on the team, like an Andrew Luck or a Kellen Moore. It wasn't fair to Jantz to have him dropping back all the time, and it wouldn't be fair to do that to Barnett. This is a running team, they need to run the ball at least 67% of the time, and will need to continue to run to win games. Period.
Think about it like this: when you pass the ball 2 of the 3 things that can happen are bad: incompletion, interception, completion. I just hope that the team continues to keep it on the ground as they move forward. They only shot they will have of beating explosive offenses like an Oklahoma State is to slow the game down.
I'm excited to see how this team comes out against KU, and to see if they can pull off one more upset this season. While it's great this team has a knack of upsetting teams on the road, wouldn't it be nice to see them pull one off at home for once?