After falling to 0-2 with a loss to Oklahoma, the Cyclones were desperate for a win vs. Akron. One of the key points in the loss last week was tackling. Needless to say, it was apparent from the beginning of this game, and the Cyclones definitely got some butts chewed during the week. Another issue from OU was dealing with the dual threat quarterback aspect of their opponent. While Akron’s QB (Kato Nelson) may not be as explosive as Kyler Murray, he gets his fair share of scrambles and designed runs. Iowa State would have to sure up the defense from last week to get their first win of the season.
What Went Wrong
Going into Saturday’s game against Akron, Iowa State hadn’t lost a fumble in, well, come to think of it, I can’t even remember the last time Iowa State lost a fumble. Yet for some reason, it seemed like the Cyclones just couldn’t hang on to the ball.
Tarique Milton lost a fumble on the second drive of the game on a screen pass. Credit to Akron’s Alvin Davis (who had 2 interceptions last week, both going for a TD) for making a great play on the sideline to secure the ball. This would lead to Akron’s only TD of the game.
Sheldon Croney Jr. then lost a fumble trying to break tackles and advance the ball with under 3:00 to go in the game. The Cyclones were just about in Assalley’s field goal range, and were up 23-13 at the time.
Settling for Field Goals
The Cyclones scored 26 points on Saturday. While that was enough to win against Akron, the Cyclones will need to be better when entering their opponent’s territory moving forward. Connor Assalley got his fair share of kicks to make, and he successfully converted all 4.
Unfortunately for the Cyclone offense, all 4 of them were under 40 yard attempts. This means the Cyclones were inside the 30 yard line before the drive stalled. Moving forward against high flying Big 12 offenses, the Cyclones will have to be better to score touchdowns rather than settling for field goals.
What Went Right
Hakeem Butler (AGAIN!!!)
Hakeem Butler just keeps making plays for this offense. Butler had 6 catches for 88 yards and one hell of an acrobatic touchdown to tie the game at 7. I’ll just let the film speak for itself here:
He just can’t stop making plays for this team, and it’s incredibly fun to watch. #BiletnikoffAwardAwaits
Montgomery balled out from the backfield against the Akron defense. According to Pro Football Focus, David broke 9 tackles, including this one on a key 3rd and 3, where he was wrapped up 4 yards behind the line, slung to the ground, and still gained the first down.
I wasn't able to watch the game on Saturday and absolutely nobody prepared me for this highlight from David Montgomery.— Alex Gookin (@_AlexGookin) September 24, 2018
There's not another running back in the nation who can literally get tackled 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage and turn it into a 5-yard first down. pic.twitter.com/bS75rYSNPs
Second part of the tweet sums up Montgomery perfectly. Note that he also did this last week against OU, but was ruled down by his elbow. This guy is just a monster.
Montgomery had a total of 23 carries for 107 yards and a 1 yard touchdown run, and has gotten 44 carries over the last 2 weeks, which is really a great sign. Keeping the defense on their toes with Montgomery out of the backfield, and Zeb continuing to look good, will be key in this tough stretch of games.
Speaking of Zeb, he kept his good run of games going last weekend. Zeb was a great 26 of 34 for 233 yards on the day. He only had the 1 touchdown (to Butler), but made solid shorter throws in lieu of testing Akron’s ball-hawking secondary deep down the field.
Zeb also did a great job spreading the ball around to everyone, with at least 1 completion to 9 different receivers. The only thing I’d personally like to see more of would be for Zeb to continue pushing the ball down the field to guys like Butler and Deshaunte Jones and chance to make plays down the field.
Offense: B (Limit turnovers)
Special Teams: A
Connor Ass Alley: 10 out of 10 (by being 7 for 7)