AMES — First things first, let me give credit where it is due. Iowa State did exactly what it was supposed to do in a 38-13 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday.
We can all nitpick – and I will do that in this column – but all week long, the conversation was if Iowa State could cover a 17-point (ish) spread anybody – even Kansas.
The Cyclones did that comfortably.
With that said, here are 10 specifics thoughts from Iowa State’s Big 12 opening win.
1) I think it is important to note at the beginning of this column that in my opinion, the 2015 Kansas Jayhawks are the worst team in Big 12 history. At the very least, Kansas is the worst team I’ve since seen I began covering the league in 2004. I asked a couple of old-timers who I respect after the game too and they agreed. I don’t think this is a latest = greatest (or in this case, worst) type of a situation either. Those old, awful Baylor teams from the early 2000’s at least had some athleticism to them. This Kansas team does not have one strength. Not one. In every aspect of the game, Kansas is inept.
2) Let’s start with the big-time positive, which is the emergence of Mike Warren as to what I believe is a legitimate Big 12 running back. I actually took more from Warren’s 128-yard output in the loss to Toledo than Saturday’s 175-yard (a record for a freshman running back at Iowa State), two-touchdown outburst. Toledo is just a lot better than KU. What I liked about Saturday though is that Warren proved that Toledo wasn’t a fluke. He isn’t a one-hit wonder. The opposition will have to account for Iowa State’s running game going forward, which is a refreshing conversation to have considering what was going through all of our minds three weeks ago.
3) Another positive: Iowa State’s 14 penalties vs. Toledo were indeed a fluke. Iowa State was only penalized twice for 10 yards against the Jayhawks.
4) Allow me to be critical for a moment…
I would love to know how and why Iowa State came out that flat against that bad of a team after a bye week following a agonizing loss like what we all witnessed at Toledo.
Was it the morning kick? Was it play calling?
It certainly wasn’t anything that Kansas did.
That bothered me. If that was any team in the Big 12 other than Kansas, Iowa State might have dug deep enough of a hole in the first quarter to not be able to climb out of.
5) Who cares if it was Kansas? Iowa State’s balance on offense was a thing of beauty. The Cyclones ran for 243 yards while throwing for 269. That is a stat that a team can build on.
6) What about that play where Jake Campos lined up at wide receiver and D’Vario Montgomery was at tackle? Combine that with the Joel Lanning at quarterback and Sam Richardson at wide receiver look and it is safe to say that Mark Mangino is getting a big squirrely the later we get in the season.
7) So TCU just beat Texas 50-7. First of all, that’s insane. Secondly, Charlie Strong will not be in Austin next season. My guess: It will be Nick Saban or Chip Kelly. Stay tuned.
8) I still believe that Oklahoma is the most complete team in the Big 12. The Sooners made a statement on Saturday too, topping an improved West Virginia team 44-24.
9) I’ve been calling for Iowa State to wear fancy alternate uniforms for years now. Saturday’s red jersey, red pants look wasn’t exactly what I’d call “flash” but it is better than nothing. Iowa State is trying. You’ve got to walk before you can run, right? I’ll take it.
10) Baylor and Texas Tech are about to kick off in Arlington. I don’t think that Iowa State will beat Tech next week but I’ll say this: The Cyclones will play this team at the perfect time. Tech’s last three games have been at Arkansas, vs. TCU and vs. Baylor. That team should be gassed.