Punting wins championships
Iowa’s average starting field position was their own 42-yard line. Iowa State’s was the 20-yard line. From the beginning of the game, Kirk Ferentz made a point to value field position over tempo, and it worked. Iowa State forced three-and-outs, but Tory Taylor was able to pin every punt inside the 10. Iowa was forcing three-and-outs, but Corey Dunn only averaged 42.7 yards per punt, giving Iowa a significant advantage.
Not to mention Tarique Milton’s disastrous punt return where he should’ve fair caught the ball around the 50-yard line. Instead, he let it bounce, and Iowa State started at the 25. In my opinion, this was the play that changed that game. Iowa State opened the half with a three-and-out inside the Iowa 10-yard line, but the killer of field position changed the entire game.
Overall, Iowa put itself in a position to capitalize on Iowa State’s mistakes with a significant advantage in field position. And then Iowa State made mistakes...
Offensive stars have to make plays
Brock Purdy had three costly interceptions and got benched. Breece Hall had a fumble that led to a Hawkeye touchdown. Xavier Hutchinson let a ball go through his hands, leading to one of Purdy’s interceptions. Charlie Kolar had a drive-killing drop.
It was an embarrassing performance all around from every single one of Iowa State’s offensive stars. If the Cyclones want to achieve their goals, their All-Americans will need to play like All-Americans. They certainly did not on Saturday.
The defense deserves better
In the second half, Iowa only had 23 yards on 26 plays. Because of the field position and turnovers from the offense, they still scored 13 points. That’s an abomination.
The defense was lights out, outside of one possession at the end of the second half where Spencer Petras cut through like a hot knife through butter. Which honestly, you can probably blame the offense for not staying on the field long enough to give the defense a breather.
Point is, Iowa State has one of the best defenses in the conference, the offense, special teams and coaching staff needs to capitalize on that and not waste a historic season.