Coming off its first win of the season, Iowa State headed down to Fort Worth, Texas to take on the Horned Frogs of TCU. The offense, despite putting up 26 points in the win over Akron, was somewhat disappointing given how many missed opportunities there were. The Cyclones would have to convert more possessions into touchdowns to compete with Big 12 offenses. TCU may not be known for putting up massive numbers on offense, but you have to score more points than the other team to win... obviously.
What Went Wrong
First of all, I hate calling out individual players for their performance, but outside of a 3rd and 25 run of 28 yards on a drive to tie the game at 14, Zeb wasn’t great. Quarterbacks have their good days, but they also have their bad. This was one of the bad for Zeb...
Noland had 14 completions (28 attempts) but had just 78 yards. Noland did have a TD (to a Tight End of all positions) to tie the game at 7, but wasn’t able to get the ball downfield, having just one attempt down of more than 20 yards down the field. Zeb also had a fumble that was picked up and run back for a touchdown right after halftime. This ‘Scoop and Score’ was a huge momentum boost for TCU.
We all know that Zeb will bounce back against Oklahoma State. He has to. Zeb has been a really solid QB for us, and I’m not worried about his play... but Saturday against the TCU defense was one to forget.
After the Braxton Lewis interception, Iowa State had to start their ensuing drive from their own 3 yard line. A few plays later, David Montgomery got hit going to the ground, and stayed down for a bit. David got up and got to the sideline under his own power, though it was very clear from the expression on his face on the ISU sideline that he was clearly in quite a bit of pain.
After the game, HC Matt Campbell said “One thing I am a little concerned about is David. There’s no player that would want to be on the field more than that guy. We’re just going to have to play it day by day and see what it is. He loves football. If he can play, he’ll play. If he can’t, we’re fortunate to have some other guys there we feel real confident about.” It’s currently up in the air as to whether or not #32 will be on the field on Saturday in Stillwater. A bad sign for the Cyclones Offense...
What Went Right
Defense (Particularly forcing turnovers)
The Iowa State defense treated this game very much like last year’s game against TCU. Forcing key turnovers with their backs against the wall. Deandre Payne forced this fumble to keep it a 1 score game. A crucial momentum breaker as TCU was on a 16 play drive to try and put the game out of reach.
The defense also did a great job limiting the Horned Frogs to just 1 offensive touchdown in the game. This means that over the last 120 minutes against the Frogs, the Cyclones have given up 1 offensive touchdown, and a field goal. TCU has more non-offensive scores (a kick return touchdown in 2017 and a fumble return touchdown this year) over that span. This is something that will have to continue moving forward as the offense tries to figure out who they are.
Montgomery has been the consistent bright spot for the Cyclones this year. In Saturday’s loss, he had 21 carries for 101 yards and a touchdown. #32 continues to provide sparks that this offense needs by breaking tackles, running over defenders, and making Big 12 defenses look silly.
One thing that needs to be addressed is that over the last 2 games, David only has 2 receptions for 7 yards. That aspect of his game needs to be utilized more moving forward, so long as he can stay healthy... as mentioned above.
Offense: C (Meh)
Defense: A+++ (Stellar)
Special Teams: B (Good, but not seen a lot)
Connor Ass Alley: Made both PATs, I guess. Didn’t really see him too much
Braxton Lewis: Scholarship Worthy?