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Three Things We Learned: Fiesta Bowl

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Yep, Iowa State won.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Oregon vs Iowa State Arizona Republic-USA TODAY Sports

Fiesta Bowl? More like Siesta Bowl

The second half of this game was very boring, in the best way possible. Iowa State outscored the ducks 6-0. The strategy was to get a lead and juice the clock. Iowa State got their first two touchdowns of the day on a 75-yard, 15 play drive that took 7:36 and a 69-yard, 14 play drive that 8:15. That is over an entire quarter of the football game on two drives. Iowa State did this by the most vanilla gameplan possible, running on first and second down, then an out route. It was boring football, but that’s exactly how Matt Campbell dreamed it would’ve gone.

Elite Special Teams

Without a doubt, there was some luck involved with the special teams on Saturday. But special teams coordinator Tom Herman put the Cyclones in a position to succeed on kickoffs. For kickoffs, Iowa State focused on primarily pooch kicks while sprinkling in traditional (booming) kickoffs to the 10-yard line. This worked for field position purposes, as Oregon started past the 25-yard line just twice out of seven chances.

However, the highlight of the day was a pooch kick that went over the head of an Oregon player, bounced straight back over his head, and was recovered by Rory Walling. That recovery led to a touchdown to give the Cyclones a 14-point cushion.

The muffed punt off of the Duck defender’s helmet was 100% luck, but 100% awesome, consider Iowa State’s history with that type of play.

Also, Connor Assalley went six-for-six kicks. I’ll eat crow because I doubted him as a kicker all season, but he hit every kick that he was asked to. That will go unappreciated but is a huge part of a win.

Process Trusted

It’s safe to say that Iowa State had the best 3-9 team in the history of College Football in 2016. They lost four of those games by seven points or less, along with a 66-10 win over Texas Tech. That season, Campbell told us to “Trust the Process.”

Four years later, Iowa State dominated Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, and they didn’t even play their best game! Iowa State will be a preseason top 10 team next season with seven of nine All-Big 12 First Team players returners. We loved the process, and it has loved us back. Go Cyclones.