2011 Game 2: Iowa State vs iowa Preview
11:00 AM, Saturday, September 10th
Pretty ugly game last week but credit to you hawk Panther fans, you have a good team out there. Best of luck in I-AA this year but it was nice to finally be on the right side of a game where the winning team pulls it right out of their ass.
When We Last Left Off…
Iowa State pulled out a narrow win over UNI 20-19 behind the legs of Steele Jantz. Despite two and a half interceptions (credit Darius Reynolds for the other half) Jantz rebounded in the 4th to throw for a touchdown and sneak one in during the final 4:30 to pull out the win.
iowa beat Tennessee Tech 34-9 despite a rain delayed mess that made their stadium look more like Niagra Falls than a Division I masterpiece.
Iowa State vs iowa: A History
iowa has thoroughly owned the series the last two years, winning by a combined score of 70-10 and controlling the game on both sides of the ball. Past that, the series has been close with the winning team winning by less than two scores.
Last 5 Games
2010: iowa 35, Iowa State 7
2009: iowa 35, Iowa State 3
2008: iowa 17, Iowa State 5
2007: Iowa State 15, iowa 13
2006: iowa 27, Iowa State 17
What Happens When… Iowa State is on Offense
Two words come to mind when thinking of how this offense needs to handle this game: Patient Domination. There are three keys to the game for the Cyclone offense and here they are.
Key #1: Offensive line domination – Unless the iowa defensive line reverted back to their high school days Iowa State will not be able to pull a win out with an offensive line performance like they showed against UNI. When Ben Bruns comments in the 4th quarter that this is the worst offensive line performance he’s seen in a long time you know there is something seriously wrong.
Key #2: Patience in the passing game – Northwestern does not beat iowa by throwing deep; hell they don’t even beat them by trying to get 10 or 15 yards at a time. All things Tom Herman and Austen Arnaud have made the mistake of doing the last two years. Credit to Herman, his play calling was not bad against iowa in 2009, but Arnaud was too quick to turn the ball over by lobbing passes that looked like punts to Taylor Sash. Things improved in 2010 but after Iowa State got down by two scores the wheels began coming off again.
The key will be to eat off chunks of yards in the pass game by throwing underneath, setting up screens and generally getting rid of the ball quickly. These passes will augment a run game that is still questionable at this point and should pull Iowa’s linebackers out of the box. If the offense is to attempt the deep ball it should be on a down where it’s safest to turn it over (read: 3rd down).
No one should be trying to gain 15 yards on iowa at a time, instead get chunks of yards, play for short 3rd downs and chew up clock.
Key #3: Turnovers – No way we were letting this one not get mentioned. Iowa State is already -3 on turnover margin in 2011 after ranking in the top half of the NCAA the last two years. More importantly, the Cyclones are -7 in turnover margin against iowa under Paul Rhoads. Even worse, out of the two turnovers by iowa in 2009 only one of them mattered; the David Sims interception of Ricky Stanzi. This has to change and is a classic indicator of why Paul Rhoads has yet to win this game. Iowa State has to win the turnover battle in this game, and likely be +2 or more, to win the game.
If the Cyclones are to turn it over it cannot be in the red zone (twice vs UNI) and it needs to be limited to longer pass plays when the drive is already stalling (see: 3rd and 10+) and a shot downfield is harmless to the overall result.
What Happens When… Iowa State is on Defense
Similar to above, we are going to break this down to three keys.
Key #1: Health – Probably more important than offensive line health because two of Iowa State’s best players on defense, Stephen Ruempolhamer and Jake Knott. Rump had knee surgery before the season started and had his snaps limited against UNI. Knott’s arm, while healed, apparently has developed some calcification that makes it painful to take a hit. Both are key in slowing down Iowa’s run game if this game is to be any different than the last two years.
If Rump can go 75% of the way and play meaningful snaps on first and second down then Iowa’s offensive line is going to have trouble containing both him and Jake McDonough. McDonough looked like a handful at times last week and was facing triple teams on some downs. With Rump in there to take one of those blockers away, iowa will have to hopefully pick their poison.
Knott also will be huge in run defense and as the game wore on last week was unable to completely wrap on his tackles due to issues with that arm. His lack of contact in practice this week hopefully will be enough to allow him to go the whole way.
Key #2: Turnovers – Just like above, Iowa State has to come out ahead on the turnover battle. The defense played admirably in 2009 but was thrown under the bus due to excessive turnovers and an ill-conceived onside kick (do it after a touchdown, not a field goal).
With fumble prone running back Marcus Coker in the backfield for Iowa there is always the chance that he will put the ball on the turf at an inopportune time. On the flip side, he may return to his form against Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl and be a bear to tackle. James Vandenberg could be prone to mistakes due to his inexperience but at the same time seems to be a better decision maker at this point in his career than Ricky Stanzi.
Regardless, Iowa State needs to be as opportunistic in this game as they have been in the other games coaches by Paul Rhoads. A 2005-level type of ball hawking may be needed to win this game.
Key #3: Safety Play – Ter’ran Benton and Jacques Washington played very, very well last week and even true freshman Jared Brackens played well in relief of a hurt Benton. Washington was aggressive and all over the field and showed the immediately upgrade in athleticism the free safety spot gained when he was named starter.
However, both men are still new to the position and iowa has one of the most lethal play action setups in college football. If Coker and the run game get going just like in 2010 then the pressure will be on Benton and Washington when the play action rolls around. iowa should be testing this early and often on Saturday and don’t be surprised to see them try and stretch the field in the first drive and take advantage of Washington’s aggressiveness.
Kirby Van Der Kamp is still a stud, Zach Guyer kicked two extra points, and Grant Mahoney seems to be ok with his kickoffs (first one not withstanding). Key on this side of the ball will be kick coverage consistency, getting something out of the punt return team, and hopefully having Van Der Kamp flip field position like Ryan Donahue was able to for iowa against Iowa State the last few years.
WRNL Lead Pipe Action Prediction: Current Season 0-1: Iowa State forces an early turnover to temporarily gain the momentum.
50/50 Prediction: Current Season 0-1: Aaron Horne scores his first touchdown as a Cyclone. Rushing.
Unlikely to Happen but We’ll Light a Dumpster on Fire if it Does: Current Season 0-1: Come on, this one is obvious, Iowa State wins. For added flames, we might just burn an Iowa virgin with the dumpster. Good luck finding one though.
iowa is good, maybe even very good, but they lost a lot of starters and you can only keep up the "next man in" mantra for so long before mistakes and bad games happen. They lack depth at the running back position and lost a lot on the offensive line. The linebackers and secondary are the strong point this year and will cause fits for a lot of teams.
However, for as talented as their offensive line is, they have not played a lot of games together and that is key in any zone blocking scheme. This was readily apparent last week with Iowa State’s most experienced lineman on the field at one point had all of 12 games under his belt (Brayden Burris). If Rump and McDonough are healthy iowa’s offensive line may struggle in spots. They will get yards, it’s what they do, the key for Iowa State will be to minimize those chunks and not allow the play action to be set up. Wally Burnham showed last week that he is willing to get creative on the line on 3rd and long and that could spell trouble for a line that is not immediately in tune with each other.
Obviously Tom Herman, Steele Jantz and the offense have to do something with the ball and first priority will be to take care of it. As long as they can keep the ball in their hands and move it in 4 to 5 yard chunks (including using Steele’s legs) then this game is going to be close. If turnovers start happening early then expect it to go the other way. Fortunately, Steele’s comeback against UNI last week showed his nerves of… steel… and that he clearly shook off the early mistakes. Now let’s hope the jitters are gone and he can perform like everyone expects.
Time to drink the Kool-Aid, run through a brick wall, and get ready to bring that pewter bucket of corn to Ames.
Iowa State 17
PS – I saw an Over/Under of 44.5 for this game at one point this week. If you get the chance of anything over 40, take the Under. Even if Iowa State turns it over like they have the last two years, neither team is built for this to turn into a shootout.
PPS - Enjoy this from 2005: