It's conference play time, we're on SB Nation, and I got over a serious case of writers block. The reward: your first Helmet Stickers article of the 2011 season. I'm sure you've missed this masterful concoction of words and pictures, so by all means; read, weep, enjoy, rinse and then repeat over and over again until the people around you start questioning your sanity.
Funny how this game played out exactly like the previous 3, except without a comeback win. Cyclone fans shouldn't be surprised by the outcome considering the first quarter turnovers that this team can't get off its back. We all knew they couldn't continue losing the turnover battle, digging yourself a hole and expecting to win. Not in the Big 12, not against an advantageous Texas team.
Even funnier thing about this game, if it's not for those early turnovers and mistakes, I think Iowa State makes a game out of it and has a chance to be victorious. Yep, I said it. Texas was not 23 points better than Iowa State. That score is a statistical anomaly. When you look at the other statistics from this game, Iowa State was equal or better than Texas. That said, you can't consistently make mistakes and give your opponents the ball inside your own territory. As we saw, that's no way to win a football game, in fact it's a damn fine way to get your ass kicked on the scoreboard.
Let me explain how these Helmet Stickers work in case you've been living under a rock. I will award a helmet sticker to the offensive player of the game, defensive player of the game, an editors pick, and then the commemorative Gene Chizik coin that is more often than not awarded to someone on the opposing team that I don't like.
With that, let's get the show started...
FINAL SCORE: IOWA STATE (3-1, 0-1) 14 TEXAS (4-0, 1-0) 37
OFFENSIVE WRNL HELMET STICKER:
James White, RB - While his overall stats don't jump off the page, White had himself one hell of a game. He ended the game with 64 yards on 11 rushes which equates to a solid 5.8 yards per rush. White also added a touchdown late in the game on a short scamper. However, as I stated, he played much better than that stat line shows. He had roughly 90 yards and 1 touchdown negated on 2 rush attempts after Darius Reynolds was flagged for holding. You add those numbers to his line and all of a sudden he's rushed 13 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns.
DEFENSIVE WRNL HELMET STICKER:
Patrick Neal, DE - There's a name I bet you didn't expect to see huh? Good ol' Patrick Neal. He put on some weight in the off-season and now here he is claiming his first ever WRNL helmet sticker. He was a disruptive force when he was in the game. This could very likely be attributed to the DE depth we've built up so we can keep legs fresh instead of 2 guys wearing down over the course of the game. Whatever it is attributed to, I like it. Neal hasn't been a world beater by any means but certainly effective which is a welcome change for Cyclone fans. Coming off of last year this DL just didn't stack up. This year is a different story. While they may not be in the backfield every play, they are forcing the opposing offensive lines to pay attention them thus allowing our All Big Twelve linebackers to make plays. Neal finished the game against the Longhorns with 4 solo tackles and one sack.
WRNL EDITORS PICK HELMET STICKER:
Chris Young, WR - With the game well out of hand a few guys got an opportunity to play that otherwise wouldn't have. Chris Young was one of those guys and he made it count against the team he grew up with in his back yard. Chris is a redshirt junior hailing from Austin, Texas who committed to the Cyclones last year out of junior college. Young wound up with 3 total receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came late, and likely against a 2nd string defense but it was a beautiful 18 yard snag and toe drag in the back of the endzone. Jantz threw it where only Young could catch it. Nice throw, even nicer catch. It was too little too late but Chris Young made his minutes count nonetheless.
COMMEMORATIVE GENE CHIZIK COIN:
Case McCoy & Jaxon Shipley - Look at this tandem of last names (again). McCoy to Shipley again being heard from PA Announcers around the B12. This time from the younger brothers of Colt and Jordan, Case and Jaxon. I'm not a fan of this monopoly Mack Brown has on these two families. So here you go McCoy and Shipley, enjoy the curse of the Chizik coin.