I have been looking forward to writing this article all week long. The victory last week over Nebraska in Lincoln will go down as one of the greatest in Cyclone history. The game speaks to the job that Paul Rhoads is doing in Ames. We are so proud to have you as our coach!! Coach Rhoads has these kids committed to putting in a quality effort every time they touch the field. That is what we are looking for from our Cyclone football program and that is what he is giving us!
As there were so many positives that came out of the game last week, it was hard to cut the list down to a few. Here are some of my thoughts on last week’s outstanding performance in Lincoln.
Game Analysis: Iowa State Cyclones vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
You could not start any analysis of last week’s game in Lincoln without talking about the turnovers that happened in that game. Turnovers were the difference maker in allowing Iowa State to pull out a 9-7 victory last week. First and foremost, if anyone tells you that Nebraska was their own worst enemy, they would be wrong. Their worst enemy was a fired up and intense Cyclone defense that was very hungry on Saturday. I have reviewed the film a couple of times, and with the exception of the long pass that was fumbled by Niles Paul, the other fumbles were generated by an aggressive Cyclone defense. I was very impressed with the gang tackling of the running backs and wide receivers and the fact that the 2nd and 3rd man to the pile went for the strip. I can tell you that this is a direct reflection of coaching! If we can continue to generate turnovers, we will continue to see opportunities to put “W’s” on our season record.
Offensive Ball Control
With our top 2 performers on offense sidelined last week, the offense was turned over to 2 redshirt freshmen; Jerome Tiller and Jeremiah Schwartz. I can tell you from personal experience that walking into Memorial Stadium for the first time can be extremely intimidating! But these two young men played with poise and control. I am sure one of the things the coaches talked to the offensive unit about was to play under control and not make any mental errors. While the offensive numbers do not show what would be considered a dominant performance, the most important number is zero! That is the number of turnovers our offense gave up against Nebraska. With Michael Brandtner punting so well, giving Nebraska a short field with a turnover could have significantly impacted the outcome of that game. Our offense did what we needed them to do, which is control the pace of the game and give our defense good field position to work with. Mission accomplished!
Jesse had one of his best games as a Cyclone registering 12 tackles and intercepting the game deciding pass on Saturday. We have a number of players on defense that are playing well, but Jesse is definitely the heart and soul of that unit. Even the plays where he does not make the tackle, he is close to the ball carrier. He received a well deserved accolade this week being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the week. I expect when the season is done, Jesse will also have some other honors awarded to him!
Other Notes from Game
- Fake Punt: This was one of the great calls on Saturday made by our coaches. It was called at absolutely the right time against the right return set-up by Nebraska.
- Kicking Game: We still need to figure out this aspect of our game. Too many points are being left off the board that we will need in the next four games.
- Offensive Line: They did a great job with the Nebraska All-American defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. He was going to make some plays on Saturday, but they kept him under control for most of the day.
Keys to Victory against Texas A&M
Here are my keys to victory this week for the Cyclones:
1) Defense will need to continue the intensity against Texas A&M. The Aggies have a very dangerous quarterback in Jerrod Johnson and we need to keep him under control this week!
2) If A-Rob and Austen cannot go again this week, Jeremiah and Jerome will need to play well again.
3) Kicking game needs to improve.
4) With the loss of Reggie Stephens to appendectomy surgery, the offensive line will need to find a way to replace him. This unit has played well all season and needs to continue even with the loss of Reggie.
Well, that is it for this week! Up next a breakdown of the Texas A&M game!