EPISODE VII: The invasion of Lub’bock

Oct 19, 2019; Lubbock, TX, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver La’Michael Pettway (7) carries the ball for a touchdown against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the second half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Three days ago in a land far, far away…

Having succumbed to the might of the Soonerian Syndicate and inflamed by stolen glory at the hands of the Sic’em Clan, the Lub’bockian Raiders invited the Cyclone Nation to their homeland under the guise of alliance. However, the Lub’bockians planned a trap…

Based on advance scouting, General Campbell, determined to continue on his quest to vanquish those loyal to the dark side’s desire to maintain its oppression of Cyclone Nation in the B-1-2 quadrant, planned a first strike mission contrary to his ordinary resolve. But, questions abound regarding new assets and the loyalty of the kicker squadron.

At the outset, General Campbell placed responsibility for the mission in the hands of capable lieutenant Brock Purdy. Lieutenant Purdy would expertly utilize his band of fighter pilots, gaining 50 yards in the air with ace Tarique Milton on the first sortie. A significant first strike was prepared as the kicker squadron was called in to make a bombing run on the heavy cannon battery. Failure ensued. Disloyalty? Spies? Nonetheless, betrayal confounded the efforts and General Campbell must find answers.

The second and third offensive opportunities deployed Cyclone Nation’s armored tank battery in an attempt to ram through the defenses of the Raiders. Purdy deployed his heavy tanks in the form of Dylan Soehner blasting through the seams and struck a blow with a strike to Chief of Arms Charlie Kolar. In spite of heavy resistance, both shed strikes to secure their aim and corral an early commanding lead.

The second strike was accomplished via an oft used tactic in the red zone. Three receivers bunched, two are “heavy” players (a tight end or large receiver). Two run short of the goal, the third runs through with a skinny post providing leverage and space for a throw made on time. A similar concept with different delivery systems (formations and personnel) has been used at least five times in conflicts to date resulting in a score. It represents an easily executed tactic when the field is compressed.

In GIF form above: Breece Hall training on Endor. I hope that is Endor. Should be Endor or Dagobah.

Alas, before the opportunity to rally and regroup occurred, Cyclone Nation traded blows with the Raiders. General Campbell revealed a feisty new weapon, still unproven, having left his training early to join the fray. Breece Hallwalker gashed the Raiders with speed and athleticism. But, with an opportunity to extend the margin to near victory, General Campbell again chose to call on the kicker squadron. Failure. Not only are the Raiders emboldened and within striking distance, but there is mischief within the ranks.

The Raiders strike a small blow to narrow the margin with a forceful attack. The efforts of Marcel Spears, veteran defender of the cause, limit the damage. The Raiders have found a weakness by pinning the contain defenders in the ground attack and attempting to force the air defenders to breach the perimeter so that an attack squadron can flank and penetrate beyond the curtain of defense.

Yet, the Cyclones still have Hallwalker…

At a decisive moment, Hallwalker is called upon and he turns a first down into a long distance strike. The play design and execution is excellent. The first level defender is unblocked, but trapped by the two way option where he is flanked. The F and the RT release to the second and third level to seal, both do so. Note, 28 presses tight to the blocks to give enough room to remain in the field of play while going around the defender. Excellent vision and feel with an end goal higher than a first down, instead, a singular focus on ending the possession.

In GIF form above: That’s Lando!!! That’s Lando!!! Hello, Mr. Williams, otherwise known as Deshaunte Jones.

In each episode, adversity will inevitably strike. The Cyclones have chaos amongst its kickers, but have overcome its effects by use of its new weapon expertly deployed. However, the weapon breaks down…

Hallwalker carries the cargo loosely. Turnovers will happen until his training is complete. This tackle is routine and while the play was overturned, it should not happen in the first place. In conflicts with darker foes, ball security will be determinative, as it could have been here. The drive ended with an interception. The defense bailed the offense out, but two changes of possession on the same drive was a mental lapse that must be fixed moving forward.

In GIF form above: Wait, what? Wait, wait a minute, what? Is that a Vader mask? Are they brother and sister? Together, fighting, ambiguity in the Force? Either way, looks like Iowa State’s offense and defense working together to overcome adversity…or, Coach Campbell in the kicker room.

Cyclone Nation spent much of the latter part of the conflict fighting through mistakes and ill-tidings. The Council of “You Can’t Have Nice Things” aided the Raiders with questionable interference decisions that took a strike away from the Cyclones’ La’Michael Pettway, who showed speed and burst not yet revealed.

However, with the outcome still in question, Lieutenant Purdy rallied delivering a strike to ace Tarique Milton again, followed by another outstanding effort by the Wookies up front and explosiveness from Hallwalker.

The armored tank battery of Allen, Soehner, and Kolar are deployed here to aid Hallwalker in his special effort. This is an unbalanced formation with all three tanks on the right side. Soehner is covered and ineligible. Soehner joins the Wookies and washes the mass down. Allen uses the angle created by the formation to seal most dangerous at the second level. Kolar leads to screen the closing edge defender.

Many backs would kick this outside, where there is a lot of room admittedly. However, Hallwalker again sees the play develop and stays tight to his help while exploding for the end zone, not just a nice gain. Five yards are blocked here. Thirty yards are gained because of Hallwalker’s vision and decisiveness. That is special.

Also, nice screen by the Council of You Can’t Have Nice Things.

In GIF form above: Iowa State’s tight ends. I think. Those look like tiny wooly mammoths or warthogs. I think I need the action figure.

Cyclone Nation overcame the Raiders in spite of an internal plot deployed by the kicker squadron, a hole in the defensive alignment targeted by the opponent, and near disastrous changes of possession. Internal mistakes in the margins of the game were not enough to overcome the Cyclones. Instead, a dominating victory was achieved through mental discipline and physical force. Cyclone Nation is not known for either, yet they stand poised on the precipice of achieving a new level of power in the B-1-2 quadrant.

While others fight amongst themselves, the tornadic fury of the rebellious alliance of Cyclone Nation emerges to face darker forces aided by a new weapon, disciplined defensive capabilities, and emerging mastery of the Force.

May the Force be with you – always.