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Three Things We Learned: Kansas State

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Hello darkness, my old friend.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

A fitting end to a season that just had a lot of misfires and mental errors.

Penalties Suck

Iowa State has been relatively disciplined this season, coming into the game ranked sixth in the country in fewest penalties. That all went south this week, as Iowa State committed 8 penalties for 55 yards, each one more drive-killing than the last. The Cyclones dropped out of the top ten for both penalties per game and yards per game. Six of these were false starts, which set up for a lot of 3rd and longs that would kill ISU drives.

Details Make All The Difference

Ever since Matt Campbell found his way to Ames, he has always preached the importance of details. The Cyclones have been fairly good about capitalizing on these kind of things, but as of late things have gotten out of hand. Missed tackles and poor run defense the lowlights of this week. We have definitely seen improvements in the pass defense, but the run defense really took a shot this week, giving up 231 yards on the ground, which allowed K-State to control the time of possession and tempo of the game. With one game left to play, it will be interesting to see some guys that have not played much or even at all (redshirt players, mainly) and see whether they can continue the no-mistakes attitude after a hiccup last week.

3rd Down Offense Needs Improvement

Tom Manning for the most part is an offensive mastermind, drawing attention from NFL teams even. His play calling has been questionable at times in the red zone, but this week seemed like things were out of hand. Iowa State was just 1-of-13 on 3rd downs this weekend. It is not a big deal to not convert 3rd downs, to an extent. If Iowa State could have gone even 6-for-13 on 3rd downs, we could be having a different conversation.

Iowa State had a season-high five three-and-outs this week, which is obviously not a recipe for success. It seemed as if the 3rd down plays were not even going to be enough even if the play did work at some points throughout the game. Maybe things were all just out of whack on this cold, windy Kansas Saturday night, but there might be some tweaking to do to really make this offense run like the well-oiled machine we’ve seen it be earlier in the season.