Iowa State won ugly on Saturday, and that is totally fine. Not every game is going to be flashy or make you have a warm and fuzzy feeling inside, but the good teams find ways to win, even if they don’t have their best stuff. Iowa State did just that on Saturday against Texas Tech. Let’s look at a few things we learned before we move onto Kansas.
Special Teams Falters
Starting against Iowa, Iowa State’s special teams have been a problem. Saturday that trend continued. In the first punt attempt of the afternoon, Texas Tech would block Iowa State’s punt in the end zone and then recover to score a touchdown. Later in the quarter, Corey Dunn had a terrible 35 yard punt that gave Texas Tech excellent field position at Iowa State’s 43-yard line which led to Red Raider points and a 10-0 lead. Connor Assalley added to the fun with missed a 37 yard attempt.
Defense Rose When Needed
It wasn’t a perfect day by any means for the Iowa State defense, but it wasn’t bad either. The scoreboard definitely hides some of the excellent play by the Iowa State defense. When the offense was struggling in the first half or Tech was threatening multiple times in the fourth quarter, the defense rose to the occasion and made the plays to turn the tide. Marcel Spears Jr. had two key interceptions, returning one for a touchdown in the second half. His second interception gave Iowa State prime field position in a tied game. The defense would also force a safety late in the fourth quarter to give Iowa State a 33-31 lead, and they never looked back from that point on. It seems this Iowa State team can count on the defense finding a way to make plays when needed the most.
Winning Ugly Is Ok
After the game Saturday, I looked through Twitter and saw some fans upset in the way Iowa State started the game and even the way they finished it. Truth be told, it is totally ok how the game played out. The football season is long, and ugly moments will rear their heads. The good teams in all sports find ways to win even when things don’t go well. Iowa State found themselves in a 10-0 hole early in the game, and battled back even without their best offensive output. This team is good, and now they have shown they can even win ugly.