This morning’s contest featured a 1-2 San Jose State team traveling all the way to Ames to take on a Cyclone team looking for their first victory under Head Coach Matt Campbell.
Though the start to the season was a little rough, ISU managed to right the ship and earn Matt Campbell his first victory as the head coach of the Cyclones.
The first quarter was one giant bowl of: what? It started with Iowa State’s Nigel Tribune getting hurt on a touch back during the opening kickoff. The Cyclones took advantage of a nice punt return from Trever Ryen, with Joel Lanning throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard, who made an incredible sideline catch. The Cyclones also benefited from a replay (!!!) for the first time since the Nixon Administration.
The yuck continued, then, as San Jose ran the ball through the ISU defense like crap through a goose. The Spartans ran all the way to the goal line, where the Cyclone defense held, thanks largely to outstanding play from Kamari Cotton-Moya. After forcing a field goal, the ’Clones busted what appeared to be a huge play in the form of a Mike Warren catch and run. Of course, Warren coughed up the ball (does he have a fumbling problem now?) and San Jose State recovered.
Thankfully Jomal Wiltz managed to intercept SJSU’s Josh Love on the ensuing drive, which was the Cyclones’ first interception of the season. This interception led to a 49-yard field goal for Cole Netten, whose foot is literally (okay, not really) on fire.
The Cyclones dominated the second quarter of the game. The defense, though still not playing great, came up with big sacks when needed, including a Jay Jones interception after a Spartan TD was called back due to an illegal formation (YAY REFFFFFFS WOOT). Jacob Park led the Cyclones on two long scoring drives: a 8-play, 53-yard drive resulting in a Mike Warren touchdown (completed in 1:38), and a 6-play, 74-yard drive (completed in 2:19), keyed by a 35-yard Jacob Park run and finished off by a beautiful 23-yard TD pass to Dondre Daley.
The second half saw a much more focused Cyclones squad take the field, as they showed improvement in almost all areas (minus run defense). After their first second-half drive resulted in a punt (their first of the game), Joel Lanning delivered an absolute BOMB to freshman Deshaunte Jones, a 49-yard strike, for the his first career touchdown.
Though the aforementioned defensive line, which was about as effective as the Maginot Line, showed little improvement in the second half. It was the back end of the Iowa State defense that shined.
Brian Peavy stopped a promising Spartan drive with an interception, but the most impressive pick of the day came when Nigel Tribune (welcome back) swatted a deep ball right into the waiting arms of Kamari Cotton-Moya.
Speaking of the defense, several young Cyclones had big days, including Reggan Northrup, Mike Johnson, and Brian Peavy.
Jacob Park led the Cyclones on another quick-hitting, impressive drive, thanks in part to Mike Warren cashing the defense time and time again. He capped the 10-play, 81-yard drive with a 1-yard pass to Deshaunte Jones, his second touchdown on the day. Park continued his impressive afternoon, marching the Cyclones on a 78-yard drive, capping it off with a pretty pass to Trever Ryen for a 16-yard touchdown.
Most surprising part of today’s game? Iowa State got Kyle Kempt time at quarterback! Dare Matt Campbell unleash a 3-quarterback system!?!
In all seriousness, when was the last time the ’Clones got scrubs in because they were dominating a game instead of being dominated?
In summary, the second half was all Cyclones, as they ran away with the game by a final score of 44-10.
Perhaps the biggest take away from today was the use of the two-quarterback system. Coach Matt Campbell said at halftime that he would continue to play both quarterbacks, as both deserved to play. His signal callers backed that logic up with their play throughout the game. Joel Lanning, who started the game, finished 5-8 for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. His most impressive play was the deep strike to Deshaunte Jones, where he stood in the pocket and delivered an absolutely perfect throw.
When Lanning was in the game, the Cyclones tended to be more methodical in their march down the field, taking plenty of time off the clock. Jacob Park, on the other hand, represented an up-tempo change of pace for the offense.
Park, who is not only accurate, has a quick release and made smart decisions on underneath routes all afternoon. In addition, he showed decent mobility, highlighted by a 35-yard run. Park finished his day going 15-19 for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The other big news from today was (terrible fumble aside) the continued reemergence of the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Mike Warren. Warren, who started slow, finished with 19 carries for 103 yards and one TD.