CanAzn suggested last night that we reach out to Jon Morse, he of supreme overlord fame over at Bring on the Cats, and ask him about last season's loss to the North Dakota State Bison.
The questions weren't hard to write, but actually hitting "Send" gave me heartburn and the shakes because I could swear Morse was going to come through the computer screen and strangle me for reminding him of such a terrible loss.
All's well that ends well, however, and Mr. Morse came through like he always does with some insightful takes on the Bison and how the upset can be avoided. So without further adieu...
NDSU came in to Manhattan last year and sprung a surprise on the defending Big XII champions. Was this a case of a team overlooking an FCS foe or just a bad game at the wrong time?
Hey, Bill Snyder team. They don't overlook the flag football game against the cheerleaders, right? Except I think they did. Not the staff, but the players, who I think started last season with a little bit of an unwarranted assurance; little-remarked-upon aspect of last season, but I don't think the team was the usual disciplined machine one expects from a Snyder squad. That said... NDSU wasn't your average FCS foe, as a look at their results during the playoffs make pretty apparent. They destroyed some other really good teams who also scored FBS upsets.
Then again, if not for some questionable play calling...
Before the game people thought it would be the case of two teams with dynamic running games battling it out, but K-State never got the attack going. What happened? Was it Jake Waters in bubble wrap?
If I'm being 100% honest, I think it was the coaching staff looking at a big kid who's got some wheels and thinking they could make him into Collin Klein Mk. II. Waters CAN run, but not like Klein could, with that weird go-pause-accelerate-stop-burst thing he did so well. As a result, they kept calling the sort of plays Klein would pop for 12 and only getting 3, and it took seven weeks to figure out that Waters is not the same guy they'd been having run the ball the last three years.
Everyone knows about "The Drive", but a lot of people have forgotten about the four third down conversions NDSU needed and how they had to play perfectly to finish the drive. What was going through your head in those last few minutes?
Mostly vodka, because it was the only way I could cope.
Seriously, just an endless stream of WTFs, combined with an unfettered sense of doom. It was the same sort of thing we saw in 2011 when the defense just couldn't get stops on third down, and everytime they had third and long all one could think was "how will they get THIS one?"
Can we borrow some wizardry for this weekend? We'll give it back on about September 5th.
Sorry, but I think we still need it in order to convince y'all that we have running backs and a secondary. Besides, we're concerned you'll claim you put it back in the mail on September 3, only to have it show up postmarked September 7.
What's the one thing ISU can't do if they want to beat NDSU?
Give them the ball. Look, even if ISU is still in deep trouble this year despite being freshly Manginized, and even if North Dakota State is still North Dakota State, the Clones can do this. But if they give the Bison free extra chances, they're going to pay for it the hard way. This is an FCS team, but it is not one you can afford mistakes with.
There you have it folks. The unfettered opinion from a man that still has night terrors of an upset that shouldn't have happened. Special thanks to Jon Morse for doing this, and let's hope Iowa State hangs on to the ball tomorrow.