AMES – Iowa State’s season motto couldn’t be any more perfect right now.
Where else is there to go after another ugly defeat? Oklahoma State provided the latest whipping, drilling the Cyclones 58-27 on Saturday.
Iowa State’s (1-6, 0-4) been outscored by 95 points the last two weeks combined.
Is there any silver lining? What can the Cyclones build on?
The next five games will say a lot about where Iowa State is headed in 2014 and beyond.
“We are all hungry for a win,” senior Jacques Washington said. “We owe it too ourselves and most importantly the fans and everybody who’s come through Iowa State. The last two weeks, we’ve been embarrassed.”
Iowa State showed some fight against the Cowboys on Saturday afternoon after trailing 21-0 in the first quarter. The Cyclones clawed back to make the score 28-20 by halftime, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Lack of execution and attrition all over the field led to another blowout loss.
“When you play an opponent like (Oklahoma State), you can’t give them things,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “You can’t make mistakes. You can’t turn the ball over. You can’t have foolish penalties. We had way too much of that.”
Iowa State was without the services of seven starters for a majority of the game – including stalwarts Sam Richardson, Luke Knott and Aaron Wimberly. It may not have mattered but it certainly didn’t help.
The Cowboys totaled 420 total yards, including 342 on the ground. Defensively, Oklahoma State allowed the Cyclones to convert just 4-of-20 third downs.
When the final horn mercifully sounded, Iowa State was left searching for more answers.
So what’s next? Let’s start with the injuries. All teams experience injuries, but what Iowa State is dealing with is nearly impossible to overcome given the Cyclones’ lack of depth.
With Wimberly sidelined, Iowa State couldn’t muster any sort of rushing attack. The Cyclones rushed for 154 yards, but only 90 of those came from their stable of running backs.
On top of that, Iowa State started its seventh different offensive line combination this season on Saturday.
How do you fix the injury issues? Simple, you can’t.
"I don’t think we’ve got a button that big for health but if we did, I’d stomp on it,” Rhoads said.
Luckily for Iowa State, the schedule lightens up. The four Big 12 teams the Cyclones have faced this season entered Saturday with a combined record of 12-1 in the conference.
In the next five games, Iowa State needs to find an offensive identity. Are the Cyclones a running team? Passing? Who is the quarterback?
For that matter, who’s the offensive coordinator in 2014? Unfortunately for Iowa State, it’s time to start making decisions for next season, not this one.
Bundrage snags two TD’s
One thing is for sure when it comes to Iowa State, Quenton Bundrage is a stud. The sophomore receiver starred again for the Cyclones.
Bundrage made a pair of spectacular touchdown catches against the Cowboys, and finished with 50 yards on four grabs.
“(Quenton) is one of our best receivers,” quarterback Grant Rohach said. “If I put it up for him, he is going to catch it.”
On his second TD, Bundrage made a juggling catch in the back of the end zone.
When Iowa State settles on a QB, he should plan on throwing it to Bundrage often.
Desmond Roland entered Saturday’s contest with 147 yards rushing this season. He piled up 219 yards on Saturday and averaged 8.4 yards per carry against the Cyclones.
Roland took advantage of numerous missed tackles and rumbled over the Iowa State defense.
“They ran for 342 yards,” Rhoads said. “Whoever was running it was impressive.”
How was Roland so successful? It starts with missed assignments by the Cyclones. Time and again, Iowa State defenders failed to do their basic jobs.
Wally Burnham’s defense has no chance when that happens, no matter how good his game plan is.
“Our job as defenders is too be in the correct spots, the correct gaps and make a tackle,” linebacker Jeremiah George said.
In the last two weeks, Iowa State has given up 129 points in losses to Oklahoma State and Baylor.
Paul Rhoads on Iowa State’s mentality heading into the final five games
“We don’t believe in doubt creeping into our minds. We believe in hard work, execution and playing better the next week. That’s what we talked about and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”
– Official attendance on Saturday was 56,800.
– Receiver Jarvis West exited the game with a knee injury. Rhoads said it appears to be a MCL issue and West could miss multiple weeks.
– Luke Knott didn’t play because of an injured hip. Knott is likely to play at Kansas State next week.
– Willie Scott didn’t play for disciplinary reasons.
– E.J. Bibbs tallied three catches for 53 yards for the Cyclones.
– Kirby Van Der Kamp punted 11 times for an average of 40.2 yards. The senior launched a 65-yard punt in the third quarter.
– Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf rushed for 85 yards on nine carries.