The Cy-Hawk game is always an intriguing matchup and this year proved to be just that. Iowa State had plenty of opportunities to put the game away but could not capitalize. Details and a few plays kept the Cyclones from taking down Iowa, while the loss stings now. There is still plenty of opportunity out there for this Cyclone team. Here is what we learned during the game on Saturday.
Every Play Matters
Yes, I know this is very cliché but it’s the truth and we witnessed it on Saturday. Iowa State was an interception away in the end zone from putting Iowa in a very uncomfortable spot. They weren’t able to get the turnover, and Iowa would convert a field goal to take the lead. Later in the 4th quarter, the Cyclones force Iowa to punt and are going to have one last crack at the win. Instead, Datrone Young makes a critical mistake and gets in the way of DeShaunte Jones and turns the punt over to Iowa to end the game.
While there are plenty more one-play scenarios out there that affected the outcome, these two in my mind were the biggest. Matt Campbell preaches details and discipline, which help avoid the one play mistakes that can shift the momentum of a game. I expect this to get better as a season goes on.
Offensive Line Made Major Strides
The offensive line will continue to be a key for the offense going forward. My biggest key for the Iowa game was how the offensive line improved from the UNI game to Iowa. They answered the call and then some. I feel like this is the best game that the offensive line has blocked over the last two season.
They kept Brock Purdy clean, and they were attacking the Iowa defensive line in the run game busting open holes that I have not seen in a while from an Iowa State offensive line. While I felt they could have utilized that momentum a bit more in the run game with the running backs, the improvement and effort was a welcome surprise considering some of the offensive line play in the past. Look for the upcoming game against ULM to be a big one as consistency moving forward is going to be huge.
Still No Clear-Cut Running Back
I think Iowa State played matchup against Iowa with the running backs, and that is fine, but it still appears that the coaching staff doesn’t have a clear favorite at the position. Kene Nwangwu, Johnnie Lang and Breece Hall all took carries, and Sheldon Croney JR. saw time on the field. I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I want to see something start to unfold starting this weekend against ULM. It would be nice to have that consistent presence in the backfield with Brock Purdy.