It’s time for some football. After a long and mostly uneventful spring/summer of sports, fall has brought with it the sport many of us have been begging for. Cyclone fans were hoping to be in attendance, but with that idea pushed to the side (for now), Iowa State would play Louisiana Lafayette without fans in Jack Trice Stadium, and from the looks of things on Saturday, they also played without the offense there as well...
What Went Right
Louisiana has quite the backfield. With the two-headed monster of Trey Ragas and Elijah Mitchell (both on the Doak Walker preseason watch list), Iowa State could look forward to a heavy dosage of both guys. The Cyclones did a good job containing the duo, though. The Ragin’ Cajuns averaged 257 yards rushing last season, but could merely manage 118 in Ames. Iowa State contained the rushing attack well, allowing just 118 yards on 35 rushes, and with backs like Chuba Hubbard in the conference, Iowa State would benefit from a good rush defense.
Tackles for Loss
Iowa State has somewhat made a living in their opponents’ backfields over the last few years. This past Saturday was no different. Iowa State racked up 7 TFLs, including 3 sacks of Levi Lewis (2 from Will McDonald and 1 from Latrell Bankston.) Iowa State’s front 7 swarmed to the ball a lot of the game, and wreaked havoc on the ULL offensive line.
What Went Wrong
Special Teams Coverage
I mean, you knew I had to start with this one, right? There really isn’t a whole lot to talk about. If you give up a 95 yard kickoff return TD and am 82 yard punt return TD in the same game, you probably aren’t going to win.
Brock Purdy was not himself on Saturday, the receivers dropped a lot of balls, Breece Hall had an early fumble, and the play-calling felt very conservative and lackadaisical. Not sure if it was because of the long break, or because there weren’t fans to hype up the stadium or what, but the offense just never got into rhythm. Purdy only managed 145 pass yards after leading the Big 12 in the category last year, and had a very bad interception deep in the Cyclones’ own territory (see below), all while not throwing (or rushing) for the second game in a row (vs. Notre Dame). I don’t think it’s time to panic or anything, but the offense has mustered just 23 points in its last 2 games and that’s something that must change to compete in the conference.
Okay. So I know I praised the defense for all they did in the game. And I’d say as a whole, with the exception of the 78 yard touchdown pass they gave up, and the final drive of the game, they were relatively good. But one thing that wasn’t great, particularly early, was the tackling. During ULL’s first drive of the game, it felt like the Ragin’ Cajuns had greased up their players during the pregame. They were slipping and ducking in and around the Cyclones’ defense. Iowa State was bailed out by a missed field goal, and I’ll attribute some of the struggling in that department to the long break, but the climb only gets harder from here. The Cyclones will need to sure up their tackling if they want to put this game behind them.
Special Teams: I don’t want to talk about it
Prevent Defense: Prevents you from winning
Ban prevent defense.— Wide Right & Natty Lite (@WideRtNattyLt) September 12, 2020