After knocking off TCU back at the Jack, Iowa State would move on to West Virginia in the Riot Bowl. The Mountaineers came off a tough loss at home to Texas in which the Longhorns forced 4 turnovers. If Iowa State wanted to keep the ball rolling in Big 12 play, they’d have to force WVU into bad situations, creating turnovers of their own. The Cyclones would also have to start fast, as in their only previous road game of the season (Baylor) they were held scoreless for the first 3 quarters of the game.
What Went Right
Hello Breece Hall!
26 carries. 137 yards. 5.1 yards per carry. 3 touchdowns.
Hall became the first freshman Cyclone running back to break the 100 yard mark since David Montgomery did it in 2016 (also against West Virginia.) Not to mention he was incredible in pass protection, picking up blitzes left, right, and center; giving Purdy enough time to work through the West Virginia secondary. It was an awesome lift to the offense that, other than Purdy, has really struggled to find a consistent threat in the backfield. Breece Hall seems to be the answer the offense has been looking for.
Defense (Forcing Turnovers)
Greg Eisworth didn’t suit up (shoulder). JaQuan Bailey is out after having surgery on his leg. O’Rien Vance left the game with a concussion. Braxton Lewis also missed part of the game with an injury. And none of it mattered. Iowa State’s defense forced 3 WVU turnovers, and held the Mountaineer offense to just 7 points, which came on the final drive of the 1st half. Iowa State was all over the Mountaineer run game, only giving up 41 yards. The defense forced Jack Allison to beat them, and the stepped up and made sure he couldn’t. Hell of a performance against this Mountaineer squad, 2 years in a row.
Brayden Narveson (Special Teams)
Joe Rivera and the punting unit pinned WVU at their own 5 twice, and Narveson drilled a 45 yard field goal early in the 4th to make it a 10 point game.
Yeah. I’m just going to leave this here.
What Went Wrong
Another Slow Start
Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy start from the Cyclones offense yet again. Iowa State punted on their first 2 drives of the game, and on the 3rd, a screen pass went through Nwangwu’s hands right to WVU safety Tykee Smith, who returned it 19 yards for a touchdown.
This is the 2nd time in 3 weeks that the offense has failed to score in the first quarter of the game. Brock has been incredible the last 4 weeks, but he and the rest of the offense have been very sloppy at times to start games. Need to fix this as conference play heats up.
Third Down Defense
West Virginia didn’t do a lot on offense, but the down that they were probably the most successful on happened to be 3rd down. Iowa State has struggled a lot this season getting off the field on 3rd down, and that continued to be an issue on Saturday. West Virginia was 6/13 on 3rd down against the Cyclone defense, including 3 of 3 on their lone scoring possession at the end of the half. The 3 on that drive were a 3rd and 8 (pass for 27 yards), 3rd and 3 (rush for 4 yards), and a 3rd and 14 (pass for 15 yards.) This defensive unit is going to have to get off the field with more consistency if they’re going to want to compete at the top of the Big 12.