The Cyclones traveled to Texas in search of their first win in Big 12 play against the struggling Longhorns. After a solid first half, the a disastrous second half doomed the Cyclones, sending them to a record of 1-6 following a 27 to 6 loss.
While the Cyclones had been struggling to perform in the fourth quarter, the third quarter hopped on the struggle bus as well.
The first quarter was all about the Cyclones. A 12-play, 58-yard drive resulted in a Cole Netten (SWOLE) field goal. The Cyclones continued to move the ball well throughout the quarter, adding another Netten field goal late in the quarter. This score was set up by a Foreman fumble (TURNOVER!?!) that the Cyclones recovered in Texas territory.
The second quarter was also a struggle, with neither team managing to gain a foothold. It was a bit of a punt fest, to be honest, until the Longhorns nailed a field goal late in the quarter. A Jacob Park pass to Deshaunte Jones brought the Cyclones into field goal range before halftime, but Cole Netten finally missed a field goal attempt, and the ‘Clones entered the half up 6-3.
So. How does one describe the second half of this football game...
Bay of Pigs?
World War II for France?
Enron’s business management strategy?
On the Longhorns’ first drive of the second half, two long passes from Beuchele to Dorian Leonard and Jerrod Heard keyed a quick touchdown drive, as busted coverage on both passes led to a 42-yard gain and a 37-yard touchdown pass.
The Cyclones countered with a 10-play, 43-yard drive, keyed by penalties, some nice Mike Warren runs, and a decent Lanning pass or two. They wend for it on 4th down after failing miserably on a 3rd and short, only to be stopped again behind the line of scrimmage.
At this point, I feel it necessary to describe just how bad the offensive line was tonight. Though the line wasn’t great before this drive, their pathetic play reared its head on this series. The offensive line resembled 5 turnstiles lined up in a row or a screen door trying to hold back a hurricane, and let Longhorn defenders through the line like crap through a goose.
Hey, did I mention that the offensive line was dreadful?
The series that resulted in a turnover on downs, which came when the score was 6-10, decided the outcome of the rest of the game. The Longhorns wend on to score back-to-back touchdowns, sandwiched by an ISU punt, to go up 24-6.
Texas added a late field goal, adding insult to injury and making the score 27-6.
In garbage time, Lanning led the Cyclones down the field only to result in a sack in the red zone, the 8th given up by the Cyclone offensive line.
Tonight the 2-quarterback system treated the Cyclones about as well as the two-party system has treated our fine country (hint: it’s not good). Joel Lanning, the incumbent starter, finished 13-21 for 149.
Jacob Park, his hair feathered and lethal, would finish 7/13 for 42 yards and no turnovers.
There were very few bright spots for the Cyclones tonight, but Deshaunte Jones was one of them. The talented true freshman finished with 5 catches for 87 yards. Allen Lazard turned in a fine performance as well (in the first half at least), finishing with 7 receptions for 65 yards.
Oh, remember that offensive line? They surrendered 8 sacks, and often gave the quarterbacks less than 2 seconds to get rid of the football. Not even Tom Brady can deliver an accurate pass with that kind of protection, folks.
In reality, this game leaves the Cyclones with plenty of questions and few answers. How does an offense that had put up such great numbers in 3 consecutive weeks struggle so mightily against what is considered the WORST defense in the conference? Does the offensive line have a pulse (they’ve given up 15 sacks in 2 games)? Will the two-quarterback system work going forward?
Thankfully, the Cyclones have a bye week to search for answers to these questions and many more surrounding this year’s young squad.