Williams Blog: What went wrong?

By Chris Williams, Publisher

If you’re reading this hoping that I’m going to spin Iowa State’s 35-7 loss to the ninth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday, you might as well just go to another site. That was a tough, tough game to put in the ‘L’ column for the Cyclones. Anybody who watched the game saw a much more physical Iowa football team dismantle the Cyclones, especially in the trenches.

It was ugly. There’s no other way to write it.

Still, back away from the cliff fanatics. This football season is far from over. I remember feeling a lot like this a year ago from today. I remember reading all of your posts on our forums after the 2009 Iowa loss. It was bad then too and yes, the world was officially coming to and end. As a matter of fact, after Iowa State’s 2009 loss to Kansas State, I was positive that Iowa State football as we know it was left for dead (jimlad).

I also remember celebrating with all sorts of Cyclone fanatics n the streets of Tempe after Iowa State’s Insight Bowl championship last December.

Being blown out by your rival isn’t a good thing. But there are 10 games left for Iowa State to get to five. Take a deep breath.

Take the rest of this weekend to analyze what went wrong in Kinnick yesterday. But come Monday, it is time to move on. A tough Kansas State team awaits the Cyclones next weekend in Kansas City and if there is any sort of a hangover at all from the debacle at Kinnick, this team could very realistically begin 2010 with a 1-2 record.

What happened?

Here is my theory on the Iowa game. Think back to Iowa’s first possession. The Hawks methodically went 71 yards on 13 plays to score on a Marvin McNutt nine-yard touchdown reception to put the Cyclones down 7-0.

I don’t know about you but at that point, I had a hard time believing that the Cyclones were going to stop, or even slow down Iowa’s offense for the remainder of the game. It was that dominating of a drive. That was going through my head while watching the game on television.

So is it crazy to think that Iowa State’s offense and Austen Arnaud were already pressing mentally before they even took the field? I don’t think so.  After watching Iowa’s first possession, it was clear to me that Iowa State would have to put up 30 or more to win. How could you not press if you’re on that offensive unit.

What happened from there? Iowa State went three and out two possessions in a row. At the end of the first quarter (after only one ISU possession), Iowa had 129 total yards to Iowa State’s three. Iowa State had the football for exactly 1:26 in that period.

After their first two possessions of the game, Iowa State had mustered up a grand total of -2 yards.

I’m not sure what Iowa State had planned on doing offensively Saturday, but after gaining a total of 30 yards in their first four possessions, the Cyclones got out of sync pretty quickly and they never recovered.

Tau’fo’ou out indefinitely

The worst news that came out of the loss for Iowa State was the fact that starting middle linebacker Matt Tau’fo’ou broke his fibula. The Cyclones were already hurting for depth in a bad way at linebacker before this happened. In his post game notes, our Ian Smith reported that Rhoads said A.J. Klein would slide to the center and an open competition would now be held to replace him at SAM linebacker. Rhoads also said to expect the Cyclones to play more nickel with Tau’fo’ou out of the lineup. All indications point to Ter’Ran Benton being back with the team next week. He missed Saturday’s game due to the death of his grandmother.


On Monday, I was sitting around attempting to come up with some different things I can do for post game coverage on the site. My idea was to hand out a game ball after every Iowa State game for the rest of the season.

My game ball for the Iowa game goes to freshman running back Shontrelle Johnson. Johnson only carried the football four times for nine yards on Saturday, but his 108 kick return yards impressed many. Those kick returns really didn’t have any impact on the game at all but it did assure me that all of the Johnson talk throughout camp was not just hype. When watching him with the football, it is pretty obvious that the young man can make some big plays.


Ian Smith