While the outcome of the Kansas game left many Cyclone fans feeling like we missed another opportunity to get a big win in the Big 12, there were some positives that came out of the game. Here are my thoughts on the performance the Cyclones put together in Lawrence.
Game Analysis: Iowa State Cyclones vs Kansas Jayhawks
Offense Beginning to Click
The Cyclone offense finally showed what it was capable of against Kansas. Iowa State continues to run the ball extremely well, gaining 219 yards on the ground. A Rob also continued his impressive 2009 season by leading the ground attack with 152 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Hopefully his groin injury won’t keep him off the field as we will need his offensive production to get some wins in the Big 12. Austen also began to show signs of what he is capable of as he passed for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 67 yards and one touchdown. I was very impressed with Austen’s ability to spread the ball around as he hit seven different receivers on the day.
Defense Needs Some Adjustments
Anybody who watched the game this past weekend realizes that we have some challenges on the defensive side of the ball. The Cyclone defense gave up 442 yards through the air to a pretty impressive quarterback and receiving corps from Kansas. There are many reasons to point to why our defense gave up so many yards through the air, but it all starts up front. It is apparent that rushing four defensive linemen on every passing down will not generate the pressure that is needed to stop good offensive teams. Our defensive coaches should look to make changes on the alignment and number of defenders we have rushing the quarterback. Also, they may want to consider bringing an additional linebacker into the game and running a 3-4 front instead of a 4-3. This would allow us to give offenses a different look and possibly confuse them on their pass blocking assignments. At this point, I would try about anything we can do to bring more pressure on the quarterback!
For the second week in a row, the kicking game cost us some critical points that could have made the difference in the game. Unfortunately, the kicking game hardly ever receives any attention unless they cost teams games. In this case, while it is not the only factor, it was a big reason why the Cyclones are 0-2 in the Big 12. The kicking game will have to improve if the Cyclones have any chance of pulling out close games for the rest of the season. This is one area that we cannot continue to struggle in or it will significantly impact our season. I am sure the coaches addressed this during practice this week and I hope this will show on Saturday against Baylor.
Keys to Victory against Baylor
Here are my keys to victory this week for the Cyclones:
1) Win the battle in the trenches on both the defensive and offensive sides of the ball. The offensive line is doing a great job; the defensive line needs to step up this week!
2) Austen will need to continue the momentum from the Kansas game.
3) Special teams (especially the kicking game) needs to be better this week!
4) No big plays.
Well, that is it for this week! Up next a breakdown of the Baylor game!