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Iowa State Football Post-Mortem: Farmageddon

Farmageddon + Snow = Fun Times

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Regular Season Finale. Farmageddon. Snowfall.

All the makings of a phenomenal game, and boy did Iowa State and Kansas State deliver.

What Went Wrong

Defense, wait, that can’t be right

Unfortunately, it seemed like defense was optional on Saturday night. I’m going to chalk some (most) of that up to the weather and footing with all the snow on the ground. That said, I’m still going to throw this in there. 35 points allowed, 497 yards allowed, on the field for 42:12 (partly because of the offense, which we’ll get to later), allowed 11 of 23 3rd downs (and 3 of 4 fourth downs), and dropped about 4 interceptions. Thankfully for the defense, the offense channeled their inner 2016 Oklahoma hitting explosive play after explosive play because it seemed Kansas State got most of what they wanted in the season finale.

Hopefully, we can just chalk it all up to the snow and cold and wind, which, given the body of work, I’d say is a fair assessment and not something that is to come with the bowl game.

Punt Returns

I’ve given Jaylin Noel a LOT of credit in the special teams play this year, and I think he still deserves a lot of it. That said, something about bad weather and punt returns doesn’t go well for us. Whether it’s a lack of communication on “Peter” plays (when the punt is really short, players yell to get their blockers to clear away so what happened on Saturday doesn’t happen) or just a lack of knowing what’s going on or what, but I’m starting to think if the weather is bad we just put Noel back and don’t set up any return at all. No one blocks, no one goes back, no one sets up anything. Just let Noel make a decision on catching it or not and get out of the way.

Or maybe that’s me overreacting to one play in hideous conditions for fielding a punt.

The world may never know (though it’s probably the latter.)

What Went Right

The REAL Abu Sama Game

Abu Sama, man. Take a freaking bow.

16 carries, 276 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Doubling his touchdown total (and nearly doubling his yardage total) on the season and doing so from the drop of the hat.

1st play of the game and he takes one to the crib a al Breece Hall. Then, start of the second quarter, another long one. And just to sweeten the deal, he found the hat trick later in the game to tie the game up at 28-28. I’d say he more than made up for the fumble on the second drive of the game with his performance throughout the game. With the uncertainty of Norton and Sanders provided just before the game, it’s nice to see the running game is still in incredibly capable hands moving forward.

Explosive Plays

I really don’t think I’ve seen anything like what I saw on Saturday night. If you had told me that Iowa State wouldn’t see the red zone, would only run two plays in Kansas State territory, would lose time of possession forty-two minutes to eighteen, would only run thirty-five plays (to Kansas State’s 102), and would only get ten first downs (to Kansas State’s thirty-two), I probably would’ve asked why you would put yourself through watching Iowa State lose by 40 in the snow in a rivalry game...

But that wasn’t the case. Iowa State scored PLENTY to win the game despite all that. A hat trick of 60+ yard touchdowns from Abu Sama and a double dosage of Jaylin Noel catch-and-run scores from 79+ yards out paved the way for the Cyclones’ victory. When your “small” touchdown play is a 33-yard pass and you score six touchdowns, you must be doing something right. I’m not sure that’s something that Iowa State can (or should have to) rely on moving forward, but damn was it a fun spectacle to watch. We may never see anything like that performance again.

Atmosphere

I mean, if there was ever a game to try and #SaveFarmageddon from the death of no longer being an every year occurrence, Saturday night was it. Under the lights, in the snow, in the final week of the season. Doesn’t get much better than that.

So to Iowa State, Kansas State, Brett Yormark, the Big 12, and whoever/whatever else we have to talk to about saving this thing, how do we go about doing that? How do we go about making sure rivalries like Farmageddon stay alive and continue to be protected and played every year? Because this game should be played every year, dammit.

Weekly Grades

Offense: A+ (Yeah, I don’t care about not sustaining drives right now)

Defense: C+ (Tough situation, struggled through it, made plays at the right time)

Special Teams: C- (Snow kind of hurts these guys, sorry)

Snow Puns: Not appreciated enough

Farmageddon: A+ (#SaveFarmageddon)