Iowa State offense stumbles, Cyclones lose league opener
AMES - Under the lights at Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State had another nightmare performance in its fourth game of the season.
This time, Texas Tech took advantage of an out of sync Iowa State offense, winning 24-13 in both team’s Big 12 openers.
“More games are lost than are won,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “We showed that tonight.”
Give credit to the Cyclones (3-1, 0-1) defense for even keeping the game that close. In a word, Iowa State’s offense was brutal.
The numbers are frightening.
The Cyclones only notched 189 yards of total offense and 13 first downs against the Red Raiders. Iowa State completed just 10 passes, rushed for 116 yards, turned the ball over four times and scored six points.
All Iowa State could do afterward was search for answers.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” tight end Ernst Brun said. “We just didn’t click, as you can see, all night.”
Neither did Texas Tech (4-0, 1-0) for the most part, but the Red Raiders used short fields to score 17 of its 24 points. On those three scoring drives, Texas Tech never went more than 46 yards.
Quarterback Seth Doege gave the Red Raiders the lead for good at 14-13 with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Darrin Moore in the third quarter. Later, Doege found Eric Ward for a 19-yard score and a 21-13 advantage after an Iowa State turnover.
Doege finished the game 30-of-46 passing for 331 yards and three touchdowns.
“Mentally, it was more of a struggle than physically,” linebacker Jeremiah George said.
The Iowa State offense couldn’t answer. With the offensive line unable to protect Steele Jantz, the Cyclones never found their rhythm.
At halftime, Jantz – who didn’t speak with the media following the game – only had three yards passing. The senior ended with 73 yards on 10-of-20 passing and a touchdown, but he accounted for four turnovers.
The biggest miscue came when the Cyclones were driving with 6 minutes and 50 seconds left in the game and down 21-13. On first and 10 from the Red Raiders’ 43-yard line, Jantz was forced out of the pocket. Scrambling to his right, the signal-caller fumbled and lost the ball to Texas Tech.
“(Jantz) is capable of making plays,” Rhoads said.
“The guy has talent. He has used poor judgment too much. And certainly, he has made a number of negative plays that have hurt out football team. He’s got to improve. Does that mean we’ll challenge him to see if he practices better? Probably so.”
Luckily for Iowa State, Jantz won’t be facing a solid defense like Texas Tech every game. The Red Raiders’ secondary pressed the line of scrimmage and knocked the Cyclones off their routes. Mix in a porous offensive line and an ineffective rushing attack and the turnovers followed.
“There were a lot things that weren’t pretty,” Rhoads said. “I don’t think we ever established control of the line of scrimmage.”
Linebacker A.J. Klein gave Iowa State an early lead when he picked off a Doege pass and returned it 87 yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth time Klein has accomplished the feat, tying a NCAA record for linebackers.
The Cyclones couldn’t capitalize on the momentum because of their stagnant offense.
Iowa State needs to regroup in a hurry. The Cyclones travel to Texas Christian (4-0, 1-0) next week.