Farmageddon. The eighth-longest running rivalry in the FBS. The only way to close out a season for both the Iowa State Cyclones and the Kansas State Wildcats during rivalry week. Kansas State has gotten the better of the Cyclones the last decade or so, winning 10 of the last 11. The only win for Iowa State being the incredible 4th quarter comeback last year in Ames. Iowa State would look to extend the “streak” to 2 in Manhattan, Kansas. With ice, snow, and rain falling, and high wind gusts, Iowa State looked to be in their element. Under Matt Campbell Iowa State is 8-1 when playing in under 50 degrees, but on Saturday, Iowa State played as cold as the weather was.
What Went Right
I’ll be honest, there wasn’t a lot that went right for Iowa State on Saturday, but there was one thing that definitely stood out to me.
I’ve mentioned throughout this year how if this defense could just force a turnover here and there, we’d be in business. Giving Brock Purdy and the offense extra possessions (usually) in good field position isn’t ever bad, but the defense just can’t seem to finish the takeaway. That is, until this past week. Iowa State forced 2 turnovers of the Kansas State offense, a fumble and an interception, both leading to Iowa State getting the ball on the KSU side of midfield. As was the case for most of the game, though, the offense sputtered out on both drives (the 2nd ending in a field goal) and was unable to REALLY do much damage.
4th Down Offense/Conversions
Iowa State was miserable on 3rd downs (1/13) on Saturday Night. They actually converted more 4th downs (2) than they did 3rd downs. Yes, the game was that bad, I felt like including this. Both 4th down conversions came at very good times, however, as one ended in a Breece Hall 1 yard touchdown run, and the other set up a Sean Shaw Jr. 15 yard touchdown reception. Iowa State could’ve taken the points going into half knowing they would receive the 2nd half kick, but Campbell and Co. decided (after back and forth timeouts between teams) that risking a turnover at the K-State 1 was worth it, and he was right. Hall took the hand-off over the left side and pounded it in to tie the game.
Again... Probably not a great game if the punter is a part of the “What Went Right” section, but Joe Rivera had a really good game. He punted 8 times for 283 yards (35.4 avg), but his yardage wont show how good his punts really were. He pinned K-State at their own 10 FOUR TIMES during the course of the game. Punts were down at the 16 (8 after a penalty), 9, 2, and 9 (65 yard punt!!!). The offense couldn’t take advantage of Joe’s good job winning the field position battle, and after the punt downed at the 2, Iowa State gave up a 12 play 98 yard drive.
It will likely go unnoticed, but I saw it. Hell of a job on Saturday in those conditions.
What Went Wrong
I could basically put everything that wasn’t listed above in this category... but let’s try and keep it like the rest of the weeks, shall we?
I don’t know what I watched on Saturday night, but it certainly wasn’t the offense I saw the rest of the year that broke records. Maybe they had gone Black Friday shopping, or maybe they were still full from Thanksgiving. I don’t know. I have no idea what happened. Granted, the weather probably played into this a bit, but we looked as thought the cold was something that no one had ever experienced. Purdy had season lows in: Completions (15), Completion Percentage (50%), and QBR (44.5). Breece Hall also had lows (since he took over in the West Virginia game) in: Yards (59), Touches (20), and tied his low in carries with 18. Nothing seemed to be working, as the team went 1/13 on 3rd down, and put up a season low (tie) of 17 points.
Let’s just move on......
For whatever reason, this team just can’t convert on 3rd downs. Even worse than not converting on 3rd downs? The opponent converting on 50% of theirs. As mentioned previously, Iowa State was 1 of 13 on 3rd downs (missing on their first 10). Kansas State on the other hand, was 7 of 14. Iowa State was too predictable on early downs, which led to 3rd down often being a 3rd and long (8+ yards). Kansas State was able to grind forward on most of their early down plays, and that led to much more 3rd and medium, 3rd and short opportunities, which they converted.
Special Teams: D+ (Tarique Milton punt return and Joe Rivera saved this)
K-State Crowd: Yikes
Crowd noise probably won’t be a factor in the second half pic.twitter.com/PFbcGdua5K— Kellis Robinett (@KellisRobinett) December 1, 2019
Regular Season: Closed
See you all come bowl season, #CyclONEnation