The Cyclones dropped an absolute heartbreaker on the road in Fort Worth, falling to TCU 17 to 14.
The story of how this happened revolves around offense, or the lack thereof. While there wasn’t much offense to be found on either side, the Cyclones struggled mightily when it came to moving the ball all game long.
The game would start with a TCU punt, and Iowa State would get good field position but fail to capitalize on it. While the call to go for it on 4th down was excellent, the execution was not, and Noland’s pass fell incomplete.
After more punts, the Cyclone defense would save the day, for the moment at least. TCU had put together a solid 12 play drive before freshman Will McDonald would sack TCU’s Shawn Robinson, forcing a fumble which JaQuan Bailey recovered.
Iowa State would quickly punch it in, with Zeb Noland finding freshman Charlie Kolar for a touchdown, the first by an Iowa State tight end since EJ Bibbs in 2014.
TCU would counter quickly with a 10 play, 83 yard scoring drive of their own, ending when Robinson found Taye Barber for a 10 yard touchdown.
Both teams then punted their way to halftime.
Kene Nwangwu would spark the opening drive with a 45 yard kickoff return. Zeb Noland would fumble on second down, and TCU’s Ben Bengaou would return the fumble to the house.
After an ISU punt (shocking), TCU would march right down the field, converting several key third downs and fourth downs along the way. With the ball in the red zone, TCU tight end Artayvious Lynn tried to hurdle D’Andre Payne, and fumbled. O’Rien Vance recovered, and the defense saved the day yet again.
Iowa State, after more punting and 2 yard pass attempts, would mount a TD drive almost entirely on the back of David Montgomery. The key play of the drive was a Noland scramble for 28 yards on 3rd and 25.
The defense would show up yet again on the next drive, as Shawn Robinson tossed up a deep pass that was intercepted by Braxton Lewis at the 3 yard line. Sadly, the interception served as an excellent punt. The Cyclones would only manage 6 yards on the ensuing drive, and David Montgomery was injured in the process.
After punting and giving TCU the ball in Cyclone territory, TCU drove to the red zone thanks to a key Robinson pass to Jalen Reagor on 3rd down. After getting the stop, TCU would kick a field goal with less than a minute left to take the lead.
The game was virtually over at that point, as no logical human being thought the Cyclones could even attempt to get back into field goal range.
In the end, this is a very concerning loss for the Cyclones. The defense played well, holding TCU to less than 300 yards of offense and forcing 3 turnovers. The Cyclone offense, though, was absolutely atrocious.
Zeb Noland finished 14-28 for 79 yards (!!!), averaging under 3 yards per attempt. The longest completion of the day was a 16 yard Deshaunte Jones catch and run. David Montgomery finished with 101 yards, and received nice blocking at times from the offensive line.
Moving forward, the injury to David Montgomery is certainly very concerning, as this offense already has severe issues moving the football. It’s clear that though 4 games, this offensive unit has no identity, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll find one any time soon.