NOTEBOOK: Bibbs’ status, the fake, the fourth down punt and more

5479f9ac41d2734f3e273AMES — Will he or won’t he?

No one knows for sure if Iowa State’s big-play tight end E.J. Bibbs (knee) will be able to play next week against TCU, but considerable pain prevented him from competing in Saturday’s 37-24 loss to West Virginia.

 "He went out there in warm-ups to see if he could and he certainly couldn’t," Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said. "We’ll rehash it with the medical staff again this week and make a decision if we want to try to go (this week) again or not or call it a season for him."

 Bibbs has caught eight of ISU’s 21 touchdown passes this season. He’s made a team-leading 45 catches for 382 yards.

 FISCHER’S FAKE: ISU holder Austin Fischer‘s eyes didn’t widen. They narrowed. Once his surprise run on fourth and four at the West Virginia 26-yard line late in the third quarter was called, he knew it would work.

 The Cyclones trailed 27-24 at the time and appeared destined for a go-ahead touchdown.

 "When he called it I was pretty much making sure I knew where I was running, making sure I knew I had everything down," said Fischer, who gained five yards behind a big block from Jamison Lalk. "And once it happened I kind of went blank, which is kind of what I always do whenever I’m holding or anything. I kind of just let it happen. Jamison made a helluva block. It was kind of easy for me. I just had to lower my shoulder.”

 ISU was intercepted three plays later, though.

 "That’s really tough, but that’s the game of football," Cyclone offensive lineman Jake Campos said.

 RHOADS EXPLAINS PUNT LATE IN FIRST HALF: Some fans booed when Rhoads decided to punt on fourth and one at the ISU 46 with 1:20 left in the first half. The Cyclones trailed 24-21 at the time. Rhoads said potentially giving West Virginia a short field at that time was too big a risk for him to take.

 “It’s 24-21 and we’d been struggling after scoring 21 straight," Rhoads said. "We certainly were struggling to get first downs let alone moving the ball down the field. We were getting the ball in the second half — we were receiving the kickoff. We were short of our 50, so we were going to leave them with a (short field). We just had an opportunity on third and one to pick it up and we failed. That was our opportunity to get the first down.

 "Now, did I have confidence in our guys that they could have ran a play and moved the sticks? Certainly I did. But a slip, an errant exchange, a stunt that’s maybe not expected — doesn’t get picked up and we turn the ball over there and go to the locker room down 31-21, OK? That’s a whole different momentum swing. I was willing to punt and be down three. As it ended up ,we were down six, but that’s still a one touchdown difference of having the lead back and again we had the ball to start the second half. So after we got stopped on third down, there was really no hesitation in my mind how to play defensive football at that point and give our kids a chance to win as opposed to putting them in a position to lose.”




Rob Gray


Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.