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Football

Blum: What if I told you…

Oct 12, 2019; Morgantown, WV, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

(Cue dramatic documentary music)

What if I told you that Iowa State would miss two fields and an extra point in one game? What if I told you the Cyclones would have a 62 yard touchdown called back because of one of the weakest offensive pass interference calls of all-time? And have another pass interference call against their opponent picked up after a painfully long officiating conference to negate a first down? What if I told you Iowa State would lose the turnover battle on the road against a team undefeated at home on the season?

What if I told you all of this would happen and…..

(End dramatic music)

The outcome was never in question and Iowa State would win comfortably by double digits.

Welcome to 2019 Cyclone Football.

Iowa State’s 34-24 victory against Texas Tech will not be super memorable or go down in the annals of Cyclone history as one of the greats. There was no extended celebration or t-shirt printed to commemorate the win. It was simply a relatively stress free, Big 12 road win for a Cyclone program that continues to ascend before our eyes.

It’s a weird feeling for Cyclone Nation. For decades, Cyclone fans endured stress and controversy and getting hosed and missed kicks and oh-my-gosh-how-did-they-find-that-way-to-lose. As a fan-base, we pretty much just accepted this was going to be our lot in life and we should just get on with it. This website was actually this close (if not for some compliance stuff) from selling Cyclone Fanatic branded nut-cups.

Saturday, a lot of the same historically painful things happened in the game (turnovers, missed kicks, picked up flags) that would have sent previous Cyclone teams into a tail-spin and the fan-base into the Big 12 apology letter petition line. Instead, Iowa State cruised to an easy win against a decent Big 12 opponent.

For years, Iowa State was so reliant on the ball bouncing here or getting a call here that each play felt like life or death and games took years off of all our lives. But over the last three games, Iowa State has simply overwhelmed Big 12 opponents and Saturday’s have been a leisurely experience. The Cyclones just defeated three Big 12 opponents by an average of 20 points and were not threatened in the fourth quarter in any of the victories.

There is an old adage in sports that in building a program, a team goes from losing big to losing close to winning close to winning big. Iowa State seems to be trending exactly on that pendulum.  

You never really hear about the Alabama’s and Clemson’s complaining about being cursed by missed kicks or getting hosed by officials because the games are never close enough to let a single play matter.

Interestingly enough, this is the company Iowa State is keeping this year.

This is not to say that Iowa State is on the same playing field as those behemoths because the Cyclones do have two losses this season and earned both of those losses with untimely mistakes and lack of discipline. But the exciting part here is Iowa State is showing a talent and scheme level to put up numbers not seen at Iowa State since the 1970s and those numbers have sustained throughout over half the season.

Iowa State beat West Virginia by 24 on the road without an All Big 12 defensive end, an All Big 12 safety and without its starting middle linebacker for most of the game. The Cyclones handled Tech without two of those players and limited play from Greg Eisworth. There is depth in this program and that bodes extremely well going forward.

Iowa State is no longer beating teams by catching them off-guard with a gimmick defense like they did in 2017. Or a transformational talent at running back, a big-play wide-receiver and an unpredictable gun-slinging freshman like they did in 2018. Iowa State is winning games simply because Iowa State is solid and has depth, virtually everywhere.

It’s the reason Iowa State is once again a double-digit favorite against a conference opponent again this week.

(Re-cue dramatic music)

What if I told you, things turned around so much for the Cyclones that the Cyclone Nation trusted both kickers and officials.

…..Who am I kidding, some things never change.

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