Iowa State had an extra week to prep for the Big 12 conference leader in a game that could be repeated in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game. The winner of this weekend, propelling themselves into a great position to be one of the two reps, Kansas State also unbeaten in conference play. Both teams entering the game with big aspirations, but would the they show out in what many considered to be the game of the week? Or would they sputter out a dud... For a majority of the game, unfortunately, the latter was more prominent for Iowa State. The offense managed all of 14 points for a majority of the game, before putting together their best drive in the final 3:00 of the game. The onside kick was about as good as the special teams was, but it wasn’t enough as the sure-handed Tylan Wallace recovered, securing a Cowboys win, and continuing their undefeated season.
What Went Right
Turnover Battle (and points off turnovers)
Iowa State won the turnover battle on Saturday with interceptions by Lawrence White IV and Mike Rose. Rose got his interception with some help by safety Greg Eisworth who read the pass from Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders and got a big deflection on the ball. Rose was able to read the bounce, and make a great adjustment to snag the ball on the sideline. This set up the Cyclones just outside the red zone, and helped get the team on the scoreboard the ensuing drive. The other, by White, came after Purdy had thrown an interception of his own. Oklahoma State had driven just into ISU territory, when Sanders looked deep down the sideline. Datrone Young had been beaten on the play, but thankfully, White saw the pass, make a break on the ball, and snagged it with a nifty little toe-tap to get Iowa State the ball back. The Cyclones scored on the ensuing drive yet again.
I’m running out of words to say about this man. 2 carries of 66+ yards, a touchdown, 185 yards, and he only had TWENTY (20) CARRIES. THAT’S 9.3 YARDS PER CARRY. This man needs 25+ carries a game, easily. His explosiveness to get you a 40+ yard run/reception, his ability to break tackles; he’s jus the total package in the backfield. No doubt in my mind he and his counterpart in the game Saturday, Chuba Hubbard, are the best backs in the conference, and arguably 2 of the best in the entire nation. I’ll shut up now and let you guys soak it all in.
We talked about Young 2 weeks ago, when he was unfortunately ejected for targeting. Since it happened in the 2nd half of the game, Young had to sit out the first half against Oklahoma State. Even still, he came in during the 2nd half, and finished tied for 2nd on the team with 6 total tackles, 4 of them solo. This kid is a hard-hitter with a nose for the ball. He’s going to be something special for this defense. Keep an eye on #1 as the season goes on and on.
What Went Wrong
Leaving points off the board is never a good thing. The Cyclones left 6 points off the board in a 3 point loss. 6>3. Not only this, the Cyclones had a great opportunity to take a 10-0 lead late in the 1st quarter, which would’ve been a great jolt to a team that desperately needed it. Oklahoma State’s offense hadn’t gotten much going, having a punt and an interception on their first 2 drives, and a 2 possession lead could’ve taken the air out of the stadium. Instead, in a 7 point game, OkSt was able to score after the missed kick, tying the game. Iowa State also got a chance to cut into a deficit at the end of the first half, and getting the ball to start the 3rd, a 4 point deficit feels a lot better than being down 7. This time, Assalley doinked it off the right upright, and the lead for the Cowboys stayed at 7. All in all, missed kicks are bad, but missed kicks in key opportunities in close games are even worse.
Man oh man. Me and my big fat mouth. I finally had the guts to credit the line 2 weeks ago, and then they laid an egg on Saturday. Brock Purdy was running for his life a majority of the game, and Breece Hall, well, thank God he’s Breece Hall. Oklahoma State lived in the Iowa State backfield, racking up 3 sacks of Purdy, and 7 total tackles for loss.
Leaving guys open
No one said guarding the Oklahoma State offense would be easy... but it gets even harder when lapses in defense leave guys like Tylan Wallace wiiiide open. Not only that, but when you leave the guys you don’t necessarily think about for the Cowboys (in this case, Jelani Woods) open, you make your own life that much harder. Much like in the TCU game, the deep middle of the field was left open, and much like TCU did, Oklahoma State made Iowa State pay. Can’t get away with leaving guys this wide open. It’s just going to be punished every time.
And here, it’s Tylan Wallace. This is a guy that should ALWAYS have one guy on him, and often times needs a second guy with at least eyes on him. Instead, here he is just streaking down the sideline with no one near him.
Yes, these are 2 very nit-picky examples in a very sloppy game from Iowa State, but it’s not like these are oddities for the defense. Guys have been open all year, and it has to improve.