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Three Things We Learned: Northern Iowa

Mostly good stuff from Saturday!

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa State took down Northern Iowa 30-9 on Saturday afternoon. While history usually tells us to toss out most things from the Northern Iowa game. There are a few things that stuck out to me from Saturday. So let’s dive in.

The Defense Still Owns

We all knew the defense was going to carry this team for the beginning of the season while the offense found it’s way. Heck, it may just have to put the team on its back for the entire year. They appear to be that good once again. Heacock and the boys had Theo Day and the Northern Iowa offense in a blender for the entire first half. It slowed down a bit in the second half as Heacock pulled back a bit and players were cramping up.

The Cyclone defense held the Panthers to 279 total yards of offense, well under their season average from a season ago. Theo Day was never allowed to get into a rhythm all game long due to the pressure and changing of looks from Iowa State. Tyler Onyedim played like he was the leader of the defensive line and was a major wrecking ball all afternoon long. Jeremiah Cooper added two interceptions, including a 56-yard pick-six to give Iowa State an early lead.

If Iowa State can keep this up this season, they will once again be in more games than not. Should be fun.

Abu Sama Needs More Touches

The freshman is electric. I do not care how Iowa State has to do it. Just get the ball in his hands and let him go to work. Sama rushed the ball 6 times for 40 yards including one where he seemingly made the entire Northern Iowa defense miss. It is evident this kid is very talented and probably will work his way into more playing time. It needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Offensive Line Hopefully Still A Work In Progress

While the Iowa State offense averaged 4.9 yards per carry and did not give up a sack on Saturday, it still felt like the Iowa State offense left a lot on the table. They didn’t control the game and the violence Ryan Clanton has been talking about this offseason seemed to be lacking. We have been preaching this stuff for years. Ideally, this is just the first game under a new position, which can often be a little messy, with plenty to correct with a week of game film available to review. The line will need to improve quickly though, as Iowa’s vaunted defense comes to town and presents the greatest challenge the Cyclone offense will have to face this season.