Coming off a 45-0 shellacking of Kansas last week, the Cyclones were tasked with slowing down one of the best offenses in the country in Texas Tech. Not only did Iowa State slow down the Tech offense, but they did so in absolutely dominating fashion, holding Taco Tech almost total yards below their average, including 150 passing yards below average. The stingy Cyclone defense has now let up a grand total of 17 second half points in the last 4 games combined. That’s more than impressive. That’s #JustPlainGood.
What Went Wrong
Alright, so this absolutely falls into the category of nitpicking, but the Cyclones did not do a very good job of containing Nic Shimonek. This falls into the nitpicking category because Shimonek is about as mobile as Tom Brady, and Iowa State didn’t gameplan to deal with him as a runner. However, after getting a couple first downs and a touchdown by scrambling out of the pocket, I would have liked to see the defense make an adjustment to keep an eye on a quarterback that has suddenly drummed up the courage to tuck it and run. TCU’s Kenny Hill is a legitimate dual threat quarterback, but I expect the Cyclone defense to a better job of containing him as they will be practicing and gameplanning his running ability all week. TCU’s offense is very similar to Oklahoma’s, so I would expect to see a similar gameplan, but Hill is noticeably less accurate than Mayfield. That could cause Iowa State to focus a touch more on the contain and really challenge Hill’s inconsistent downfield accuracy.
Run blocking has been an issue for the offensive line all year. Fortunately, David Montgomery is so good, that this weakness has been relatively well hidden up to this point, whether by Montgomery just being a badass or the coaching staff gameplanning around the weakness. Either way, some improvement by the offensive line to compliment the stellar run blocking provided by the receivers would allow Montgomery to reach the second level of the defense before first contact, making him exponentially more dangerous (see below).
Iowa State RB David Montgomery was at it again- forcing 9 missed tackles and gaining 131 yards after contact in the victory over Texas Tech. pic.twitter.com/SCj6VlBdKG— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) October 21, 2017
131 yards after contact is an incredible stat. Obviously, it shows how freakin’ good David Montgomery is, but it also illustrates the struggles of the offensive line. Against Tech, David had 164 yards rushing on 28 carries, meaning he only had, on average, 1.17 yards before getting hit by a defender. Essentially, this means all the line is doing is not letting him touched in the backfield much. Meh.
What Went Right
The redshirt senior walk-on quarterback has been nothing short of magical in his three games as the starting quarterback. Kempt hadn’t been particularly flashy, but had been mistake free up until his third pass attempt of the game, which was intercepted by Texas Tech. Given what essentially turned out to be a pick-six, many fans were curious to see how the seemingly emotionless Kempt would handle his first taste of adversity. What did Kempt do the very next drive? Tell adversity to f*** off and go 7-8 passing, including a 13 yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard to finish the drive.
The coaching staff has consistently lauded Kyle Kempt’s poise, and he certainly showed the fans what they were talking about on Saturday, as if Cyclone fans weren’t already wildly impressed by the Massillon, OH native. Coming up against a stout TCU defense this weekend, Kempt’s Monte Morris-like poise will certainly be a big factor in pulling off possibly the most important win in school history.
There are no adjectives left to describe this guy, but Chris Williams probably said it best.
I hope that someday my daughter lives life the way that David Montgomery runs the football.— Chris Williams (@ChrisMWilliams) October 21, 2017
It’s honestly too bad that David hasn’t had more big games like he did on Saturday, whether due to workload or no blocking, or he would be getting some very real Heisman buzz. If Montgomery was in the Heisman race, this “Beast Mode” run would absolutely be in his highlight reel.
Either way, Cyclone fans are guaranteed to see this monster run the ball for at least another year after this season, so this type of fun won’t be ending anytime soon, no matter how much Kirk Herbstreit tries to piss in our Cheerios.
The junior transfer has slowly emerged throughout the season, showing off the talent that made him so highly rated coming out of JUCO. At 6’4” he’s a matchup problem for pretty much any cornerback, and his route running is better than solid. His emergence as the Cyclones 6,287th receiving threat culminated Saturday in the form of two touchdown catches, including a gorgeous back shoulder grab and a tiptoe catch in the back of the endzone. Eaton’s development and involvement in the passing game will be exciting to watch as Kempt gets more comfortable and the coaching staff begins to trust him with more vertical throws.