AMES – It’s nearly impossible to describe.
How exactly did Iowa State lose a 31-30 heartbreaker to Texas after dominating the Longhorns in nearly every facet of the game?
Well, Paul Rhoads has an idea. The refs robbed the Cyclones.
“To make a play on the 1-yard line with their backs against the wall, clear to everybody, and to have it taken away from them, that’s hard to express,” said Rhoads, his voice rising with each syllable. “You don’t put your arm around a guy and tell him that’s ok when that happens to him.”
Jeremiah George stripped Texas’ Jonathan Gray at the 1-yard line and sprinted toward the opposite goal line with the ball sealing an Iowa State victory. Only the refs somehow ruled the runner down.
Rhoads’ reaction went viral with nearly everyone except those wearing burnt orange in agreement.
The refs missed the call. Sickening.
“I’ve got pretty good eyesight,” Rhoads said. “The view I had of that gigantic screen in the north end zone showed a player that was not down and our guy with the football.”
Rhoads has every right to be furious. One play can’t win or lose a game, right?
Absolutely wrong. Without the blown call, Iowa State is 2-2 and more importantly 1-0 in the Big 12. It’s that simple.
“The whistle never blew until I had the ball and was 30 yards down the field,” a dejected George said.
Two plays later, Texas quarterback Case McCoy scored the winning touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
Iowa State piled up 463 yards on Thursday night – 100 more than Texas – including 201 on the ground. The Cyclones held the ball for more than 34 minutes and threw for 262 yards.
Unfortunately, they lost the only stat that mattered. Iowa State was whistled for 10 penalties for 118 yards, many of which kept Longhorn drives alive.
“We’re the least penalized team in the league,” a sarcastic Rhoads said. “Sure seemed to be a lot of hankies on the field. I’m sure they made tremendous calls.”
Expect an apology letter this week from the Big 12. It’s doubtful it’ll make Rhoads, George and the entire Iowa State fan base feel better.
Wimberly’s the man
Aaron Wimberly isn’t a big guy but that won’t stop Rhoads from feeding his best running back the rock.
Wimberly showed his speed and strength against the Longhorns on Thursday night. The junior college transfer tallied 117 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Wimberly also caught two passes for 23 yards and another score.
“I think he’s a man,” Rhoads said. “I think he runs hard and he runs fast. He’s a good football player.”
Wimberley’s second touchdown of the night was particularly impressive. With the hole plugged up, the junior jutted left and then rumbled over two Texas defenders into the end zone.
As Iowa State’s offensive line continues to get healthy, expect Wimberly’s numbers to keep going up.
Bundrage’s big play
If not for all the controversy, the conversation Friday is about Quenton Bundrage. The sophomore wideout continues to emerge as the explosive playmaker Iowa State’s been missing for years.
In the third quarter, Bundrage took a pass 97 yards to the house. The play was the longest passing touchdown in Iowa State history.
“We ran the same play a couple of times earlier,” quarterback Sam Richardson said. “It’s surprising that they gave it to us again.”
The play highlighted Bundrage’s unique skill set. He beat his man inside, snatched the ball out of the air and juked a safety before sprinting untouched for the touchdown.
Bundrage finished the game with five catches for 137 yards.
– Official attendance on Thursday night was 52,672.
– Iowa State has now lost 11 consecutive Big 12 openers.
– Sam Richardson finished 16-of-26 passing with two touchdowns. Richardson also tallied 83 yards on the ground. Iowa State will need to watch Richardson’s health this week. It appeared the sophomore reinjured his ankle in the game’s waning moments.
– Texas’ Jonathan Gray had 89 yards on the night.
– Case McCoy added 244 yards through the air on 26-of-45 passing.
– Kirby Van Der Kamp averaged 39.7 yards on six punts.