By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Before the season started, I didn’t think that Iowa State would beat Iowa, Utah or Oklahoma. I did however believe that the Cyclones would at the very least, be able to compete. Last night’s 52-0 blowout at the hands of the sixth-ranked Sooners was a harsh slap in the face to the Cyclone nation as to how far this program actually has to go to turn that corner because remember, the years of not playing Texas and Oklahoma are a thing of the past. The Cyclones will travel to Norman again next year.
Yipee ki yay.
Who is to blame for these last two debacles? Nobody. This is a collective effort that we’re talking about here fanatics. Iowa State was outmatched at every position on the football field last night. There is no other way to put it. That was evident everywhere, but downright glaring on the offensive and defensive lines.
Against the Sooners, Austen Arnaud was constantly running for his life, while Oklahoma’s running back DeMarco Murray often times galloped 10 yards before even being touched by an Iowa State defender.
CLICK HERE for some great analysis on the big boys up front from CF user Al_4_State.
Things won’t get any easier next week either as you all know, a trip to Austin is imminent. I’m not going to get into that though. We’ll be hashing out the Texas game all week here at CF.
So you want a silver lining? Well, the gauntlet is almost over. After Texas, the lowly Kansas Jayhawks will visit Jack Trice Stadium on homecoming. Iowa State will more than likely be the favorite in that football game. Then, it’s Nebraska, a game that admittedly looks bleak at this point. But the Cyclones have two winnable games at the end of the season in Colorado (road) and Missouri (home) and there is no reason that a bowl game should be out of the conversation at this point.
The 2010 Cyclones are just going to have to kick it 2009 style from here on out. Win the games that you should and shock everybody, somewhere along the way. That’s the recipe for a bowl game right now. The Oklahoma game didn’t change a thing, other than making a bad taste in your mouth after Utah even more disgusting.
Now, onto my report card.
Kirby Van Der Kamp – You know things are bad when your punter gets the game ball two weeks in a row. I don’t really know whom else to give this to though. Van Der Kamp, a true freshman, punted seven times and averaged 52.6 yards per kick, all while knocking three of them inside the 20-yard line. This means nothing to fans but while digging extremely deep, it is good news. One of the biggest questions regarding the 2010 Cyclones back in August was the future of the punting game. This true freshman has been brilliant over the last two weeks. He should be. Van Der Kamp has had a ton of practice, punting the ball 16 times over the span of two weeks.
Alexander Robinson – All week long, I wrote that I didn’t think Robinson should play in this one due to his lingering ankle and foot injuries. My point was to do everything possible to make sure that he would be 100 percent for the Kansas game going forward. While my opinion hasn’t really changed on that matter, Robinson showed a lot of toughness by playing last night. The senior ran the football seven times for 39 yards. Throw the numbers out the window though. I love the fact that guys like Shontrelle Johnson, Jeff Woody, James White and Duran Hollis are learning from a classy, hard-nosed guy like Alexander Robinson. This guy led by example last night.
David Sims – Last year’s Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year recorded 17 tackles for Iowa State in the loss. Don’t worry, I realize that this isn’t necessarily a good sign. After all, Sims is a safety. Never do you want a safety to be your team’s leading tackler. But this stat shows that Sims is back in the conversation and that the senior is playing much better than he was three weeks ago. Along with leading the team in tackles, Sims forced Oklahoma’s only fumble.
Collin Franklin – Iowa State’s tight end, who happens to be the team’s best overall receiver, caught six passes in the loss. The problem is, he only averaged six yards per reception. Still, Franklin is at least consistent. I’m not sure that we can say that about any other Cyclone offensive player at this point in the season.
Jake Knott and A.J. Klein – The pair of sophomore Cyclone linebackers combined for 26 tackles in the loss (both had 13). I’m giving them helmet stickers because they are constantly on the football field. Will somebody order up a massage for these boys?
I hate being this way but when you lose 52-0 and the punter gets the game ball for the second week in a row, coming up with three ups is nearly impossible. I just can’t do it. The team played hard and didn’t quit but Iowa State didn’t compete in any phase of this football game.
Defensive Line – It’s been three games now since Iowa State’s defense has recorded a sack.
Third Downs & First Downs – The Cyclones were 4-of-15 on third down against the Sooners. Against Utah, Iowa State was 0-for-11 in the same category. Okay math majors…That means that over the last two games, Iowa State was 4-for-26 on third down conversions. Last night, Oklahoma racked up 37 first downs on Saturday night. Iowa State only recorded 10.
Kicking Game – This certainly didn’t have any impact on the last two football games, but Grant Mahoney has missed three field goals in a row. In all fairness, two of those three kicks were of 50 yards or more. It is hard to be too hard on Mahoney but still, this isn’t something that I’d like to see become a trend.
– Iowa State didn’t get into the red zone once on Saturday night.
– Oklahoma’s offense got off 94 plays in the blowout win. The Sooners averaged 7.1 yards per play. Iowa State’s offense only ran 60 plays. The Cyclones averaged 3.0 yards per play.
– Iowa State only mustered up 183 yards of total offense. Oklahoma had 672 total yards.
– Jake Lattimer had five tackles last night to lead all Cyclone defensive linemen. That number tied him for seventh on the team in that category. That’s not good.
It is impossible to spin being outscored 120 to 27 over a two-week span. It is hard to blame Iowa State’s fan base for being frustrated. While not many people expected to beat Utah or Oklahoma, a competitive showing isn’t too much to ask of a team with as much experience back on the offensive side of the football that Iowa State has. But remember, that Iowa State currently sits at 3-4 and that would be the case if the last two games were defeats by two-point deficits. This team’s goal is still in tact. The Cyclones can still go to and win a bowl game. I know. It is hard to even imagine that after these last two drubbings. But try not to lose sight of that fact in what is a difficult time to be an Iowa State football fan.