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Iowa State Football Post-Mortem: TCU

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Breece Hall, folks

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

After a bye week to think about and correct all of the disaster that was the ULL game, the Cyclones took on the Horned Frogs of TCU. These 2 teams have provided quite the interesting matchup over the last few season, Iowa State winning the most recent in a blowout in Ames last year, 49-24. Looking to repeat that performance and put to bed all the questions around this season, Iowa State headed to Fort Worth.

What Went Right

Breece Hall (and the running game in general)

Alright. I had to start out by pointing out the obvious. Breece Hall didn’t didn’t have a carry (DIDN’T HAVE A CARRY) in the entire first quarter of the game on Saturday. He then took his first carry for a mere gain of 1.

Then he touched the ball a 2nd time. Dylan Soehner and Colin Newell broke open a great lane up the middle, and Hall hit timed it perfectly. 75 yards to the house. It’s certainly hard to improve on that, but Hall kept pace, tallying up 155 yards and 3 total scores on 18 carries. Not to be forgotten, Kene Nwangwu broke off the left side and took his only carry 49 yards in for a score, as the Cyclones totaled 213 yards on 28 carries (7.6 YARDS PER CARRY.)

Turnovers (in key spots)

Finally. It finally felt after all these games Iowa State got turnovers, and in what great spots they were. JaQuan Bailey (who’s been the Cyclones’ best player through 2 games) not only broke the ISU career sack record (Congrats #3!) but in doing so also got a HUGE strip-sack-recovery right before the end of the first half, giving Iowa State the opportunity to score before halftime AND get the ball coming out for the start of the 3rd. Then, when it mattered most, Mike Rose did what he always does and came up clutch. Rose dove for a dropped pass late in the game, and got his hands under the ball with no room to spare coming up with the ball and setting up the Cyclones deep in TCU territory and (essentially) icing the game.

Defensive Line/Front Seven

Oh my goodness. This defensive line is... absurdly good. JaQuan Bailey and the defensive line (and the linebackers for that matter) just set up camp and lived their lives in the TCU backfield. I had mentioned 2 weeks ago that the d-line had a great day, and they lived up to my expectations this weekend. Bailey led the way with 3.5 sacks, and the rest of the team tacked on another 3.5. Not only that, they added 2 more tackles behind the line, giving them NINE tackles for loss on the day. Look for this front 7 to continue to harass opposing quarterbacks, and to set up shop in the backfield.

What Went Wrong

Tackling

For as good as the front 7 was, the secondary REALLY struggled with tackling. It felt very apparent after TCU’s first score that Iowa State’s secondary was going to struggle. A missed tackle at the point of the first grab and Quentin Johnston was able to walk in from there. Needless to say, with a speedy, shifty, and ticked off Oklahoma team coming to town next week, the secondary will need to tighten it up when it comes to tackling.

Pass Defense

Not to pick on the secondary this entire piece, but the secondary got beat deep, and got beat a lot on Saturday. One spot in particular that TCU’s QBs picked on was up the seam and down the middle of the field. 3 of TCU’s scores were completed basically on the same spot of the defense. So. Let’s improve on Post-Mortem and take a look:

An overcommit and a missed tackle, and TCU gets on the board to tie the game at 7. If the safety over the top doesn’t fly by the receiver here, there’s a good chance he could break up this pass.

This one, we don’t even have an overcommit. This is just defense 101. Don’t let anyone behind you. Taye Barber beats everyone to the goal line, and TCU closes the gap/

And finally here, we’ve just got a basic open zone. No one within 5 yards of the target, and the guy that’s closest has miss-timed the play on the ball.

Again, hate to pick on one group of guys playing their hardest week in and out, but these are very specific and fixable details that shouldn’t be happening this consistently. Some of it is play-calling, some of it isn’t. Here’s hoping to a better performance next week.

And that’s it for What Went Wrong this week. Definitely nothing else should go in this category. Nope. Purdy was great. Absolutely nothing else to look at here, or if there was, I’m certainly not going to put fans through it. On to the grades.

Weekly Grades:

Offense: B (Need to feed Breece)

Defense: C- (Tackling and coverage needs to improve)

Special Teams: B- (No *real* issues covering, but a missed PAT yikes)

Mike Rose: Has his thorns

Darren Wilson Jr: Davante Adams Jr. (top of the screen)

TCU: Later