After the beating Oklahoma on the road in Norman, Iowa State needed to avoid a let down on Saturday against Kansas in the pouring rain. In an absolutely dominant performance on defense and special teams, the good guys absolutely destroyed a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Kansas Jayhawk team.
After forcing a punt on Iowa State’s opening possession, Kansas fumbled the punt, which Iowa State recovered. KU then forced another punt, which was downed on the 4 yard line. The next play, Jayhawk quarterback Peyton Bender threw an interception to Kamari Cotton-Moya, who promptly made a nice return to set up the offense to eventually score on a David Montgomery touchdown run.
KU’s offensive attack, which had been producing nearly 500 yards per game, was limited to less than 50 yards in the first half, and didn’t reach 100 total yards until the second to last play of the game, largely due to extremely stout play from the defensive line, along with a significant number of penalties, drops, and turnovers. Coming out of this game, there’s a very real case to be made that the defense is actually the strongest unit of this Iowa State team.
The largest difference units, however, came on special teams. On the punt team, Collin Downing repeatedly pinned KU deep in their own territory, often inside the 10 yard line. On the return, Trever Ryen had multiple long returns, including a 68 yard return for a touchdown. Twice in the game, the Jayhawks fumbled the snap on a punt, once recovered by the punter in Iowa State territory, the other eventually becoming a pseudo blocked punt that led to another David Montgomery, who finished with 3 touchdowns on the day.
With the game well in hand, the second team offense took the field early in the second half, giving Zeb Noland the first “meaningful” reps of his career. He finished 5-of-9, throwing a couple beautiful deep passes to Jalen Martin and Landen Akers.
Overall the Cyclones didn’t finish with a particularly impressive yardage total (318), but most of that can be blamed on the rainy weather and a handful of drives which started well into Iowa State territory. From this game the Cyclones can reflect on an excellent effort on both defense and special teams, taking their 4-2 down to Lubbock, Texas for next weekend’s showdown with Taco Tech.