By Chris Williams, CycloneFanatic.com Publisher
Have you ever had just a really bad day at the office? You know the kind of day I am talking about. The kind where no matter what you do, say or even think, it is wrong. I’m not talking about a semi-bad day either. I’m talking about a disastrous one.
Here’s a testimonial. At the radio station I used to work at before I took this job, we had what were called "duty weekends." I was the sports director at this station. On duty weekends, you literally ran two stations for 48 hours. Nothing was out of your hands as far as responsibility goes. So being a sports guy, reading funeral announcements wasn’t really my cup of tea if you get my drift.
Well this one weekend, literally everything I did, I screwed up. So when Monday morning came around, I had to go tell my boss just how bad of a job I had done. I expected him to be upset. Being the cool guy that he is, he said "hey man, you just let it get away from you. Do better next time."
The Cyclones sure let that one get away from them last night didn’t they?
Pardon me fanatics. I wanted to think of some clever way to begin this recap of last night’s 68-27 rout that Utah poured on our Cyclones. I’m struggling.
There’s not much to write about last night’s game. The first quarter was great. The second quarter was the epitome of a football debacle. The rest just really didn’t matter.
Iowa State is now 3-3 and it doesn’t get any easier from here. A road trip to Norman looms and the Cyclones will hope to avoid being hooked by the Horns in Austin the week after that. And please don’t give me that “Texas will probably only be .500” line. Texas is Texas is Texas is Texas. If the Horns are indeed on a three game losing streak heading into that game, they’ll only be that much hungrier to beat the Cyclones. Don’t fool yourselves fanatics. That is still a very tough football game.
The biggest problem with last night’s loss is that besides a quality game by a punter, there really aren’t any positives to take from it. I feel like this team took four steps forward with the Texas Tech win, only to lose six in the Utah loss.
Sure, if you lose by one or if you lose by 41, you’re going to get an “L” in that column at the end of the night. But being competitive is important. One quarter of bad football kept Iowa State from being that last night.
And give credit to Utah. They are a really good team. I questioned their strength of schedule and what not all week long. They are legit and TCU better watch out. The Utes could be the team in the national title conversation from the MVC when all of the dust settles.
I want to touch on something that Paul Rhoads told Eric Heft during the Cyclone Radio Network post game show last night.
“The last thing that you should do is panic,” Rhoads said.
I love that quote. I still have a ton of faith in this coaching staff and some of the players on this team as well. One bad loss shouldn’t wipe away all of the positives we’ve seen from this regime over the past year and a half. When anybody drops 68 on you at home, it is natural for a fan base to get down. Heck, you can even get a little bit sick to your stomach. That’s fair. But just think about how nasty things were a season ago when the Cyclones went into Lincoln. A lot can change in one week. I guess another example would be last week. Think about how you felt about this program last Sunday. Where are you at now?
It is a game of ups and downs. Right now, the Cyclones are down. It isn’t doomsday though. A bowl game is still very much within reach.
Let’s dive into some specifics on last night’s game with my weekly report card.
Kirby Van Der Kamp – It is never a good thing when your punter gets the game ball. In fact, I wanted to give this thing to anybody but Kirby Van Der Kamp. But after endlessly digging through the numbers, nobody else was really a contender. Van Der Kamp, a true freshman, punted the football nine times for 450 yards in the loss. That’s an average of 50.0 yards per punt. He punted for more yards than Iowa State’s offense racked up in the loss. Again, this isn’t a positive, but Van Der Kamp did his job and unfortunately even had to make a few tackles as well.
David Sims – Along with A.J. Klein and Jake Knott, Sims recorded 10 tackles for Iowa State in the loss and picked off his first pass of the season. He also recovered a fumble.
Bailey Johnson – Johnson forced the first fumble of his Iowa State career, which ultimately led to an Iowa State first quarter touchdown.
Shontrelle Johnson – The true freshman running back only got five carries in the loss but racked up 50 yards. For you non-math majors out there, that’s an average of 10.0 yards per carry. Johnson also racked up 162 kick returning yards.
James Capello – While he didn’t throw a pass, redshirt freshman quarterback James Capello did engineer a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. Capello ran for a 19-yard touchdown. The score literally meant nothing but I’ll give him a sticker for it anyway.
Collin Franklin – Another impressive performance by Iowa State’s tight end. Franklin caught four passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Franklin leads Iowa State in receiving this season with 279 yards and two touchdowns.
This is the section of my weekly column where I list three positive tidbits from the game. Can we all agree that when you lose by 41 points at home that it kind of isn’t worth it? I’m not trying to be Mr. Negative Nancy here fanatics. I’m just trying to keep it real.
68 – The 10th ranked Utes scored 68 points on Iowa State. That is the most points that any Iowa State team has ever given up inside of the Ames city limits. The previous record was set by Oklahoma in 2003, when the Sooners dropped 53 points on the Cyclones.
3rd Downs – The Cyclones were 0-for-11 on third down conversions last night. They were 0-for-8 on third downs in the first half alone. No wonder that defense couldn’t stop a soul towards the end of the second quarter. The Iowa State defense was gassed and because of that, they didn’t have a chance. The Utes were playing video game ball at that point.
2nd Quarter – Utah has outscored their opponents this year by a total of 101-7 in the second quarter this season. The Utes outscored the Cyclones 31-0 last night in the second period, while racking up 280 yards. Meanwhile, the Cyclones only mustered up 79 yards in the half.
– James Capello got playing time while Jerome Tiller didn’t. During his post game press conference, Paul Rhoads confirmed that Tiller did indeed injure his knee during the Northern Iowa game.
– Alexander Robinson didn’t get a carry in the second half. Last night, CF’s Ian Smith reported that Robinson injured his foot in the game. He already had a tweaked ankle coming into the Utah contest.- Utah was 9-for-9 in the red zone. There’s no need to analyze that stat.
– Shaky was ridiculous last night. Need I say more?
Okay, so we got through all of that. Will you please step away from the cliff now fanatics? It’s not worth it.
Iowa State can still make a bowl game. It won’t be easy, but crazier things have happened. Circle these three games on your schedule.
Kansas, @Colorado and Missouri. Tell me why Iowa State can’t win those football games? Then tell me why we all can’t go some place warm for the holidays again?
Last night didn’t go the way that anybody had planned. What can the team do from here? Pick itself up off the ground and prep for the Sooners. What else can you do?
Coach Rhoads was very adamant in his postgame comments that this team is still improving on a weekly basis. I trust Paul Rhoads. He’s forgotten more about football than I’ll ever know and I plan on living until I’m at least 103.
Iowa State’s football program has what they call the “24 hour rule.” After a win or loss, they have 24 hours to get over it and move on. I’ll be surprised if the coaching staff isn’t very strict about enforcing that during the team’s Sunday practice.