The storm that was supposed to be brewing apparently died before it got to Ames on Saturday. Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa 25-20 in the 2016 season opener.
You know, as a Cyclone fan, you’d think you’d get used to these things happening. A team you SHOULD beat handily. Especially now that the “problem” coach is gone and you’ve got a staff of guys who seem to know what they’re doing.
But this one hurt.
It’s one thing to lose a game you shouldn’t. It’s another to play like a bunch of 10-year-olds who strapped on helmets and shoulder pads for the first time. Penalties... Poor reads... Turnovers... Just about everything we wanted to see disappear from the Rhoads era very clearly DIDN’T go away during tonight’s game.
If Iowa State plays the way they did tonight for the rest of the year, they’ll honestly be lucky to match the win total Paul Rhoads had in the year he finally got canned.
The night started off fine. Joel Lanning found Dondre Daley for a 39 yard touchdown pass on ISU’s second offensive possession. 7-0 was the score at the end of the first quarter.
Then, the mistakes started happening. Lanning fumbled the ball and gave UNI great field position at the ISU 16 yard line. They took advantage by scoring a TD on a running back pass out of the backfield to tie it up.
Hakeem Butler made a sick one-handed catch for ISU’s second touchdown of the evening, but Cole Netten missed the PAT, putting the score at 13-7. The next Cyclone possession, Lanning was blitzed heavily and called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety for UNI, 13-9.
Panther quarterback Aaron Bailey added a rushing touchdown before halftime and put UNI up 16-13.
In the 3rd quarter, the only score came on a 22 yard field goal for the Panthers, which put them up 6. Things looked up for ISU when Lanning threw a 33 yard pass to Allen Lazard, in which the 6-foot-5 receiver won the jump ball against the Panther defender in the end zone for another TD. The PAT gave the Cyclones the 1-point lead.
From there on out though, it was a disaster for Iowa State. On the next ISU possession, Lanning threw a horrible interception in which the receiver either ran the wrong route or Lanning airmailed it completely. A few plays later, UNI punched the ball into the end zone on a run play. They failed to tack on a 2-point conversion and the score stood at 25-20.
The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving ISU the ball at the 35 yard line with 2:49 left. Unfortunately, Mike Warren fumbled on Iowa State’s second play of the drive. Miraculously, the Cyclone defense forced a 3-and-out and ISU got the ball back with 1:19 left on the clock. But, you guessed it, Joel Lanning immediately threw another interception, sealing the win for the Panthers.
Iowa State totaled 9 penalties for a total of 89 yards on the night. Additionally, the Cyclones only managed 51 yards on the ground (due to many plays getting called back for holding). UNI also controlled the time of possession, having the ball for 35:56 compared to ISU’s 24:04.
This was an especially poor performance for Lanning, who had three crucial turnovers on the day. Lazard was the one bright spot on offense, grabbing 6 receptions for 129 yards and 1 TD.
The next game for the Cyclones is against Iowa in Kinnick Stadium next Saturday. Get to your bomb shelters while there’s still time.