This season I have decided to give a recal of each of Iowa State’s football games this season. Having played football at Iowa State, I have a pretty good understanding of college football and Iowa State in particular. The purpose of this is not to recap stats to you because you can read those in your favorite newspaper or online. My goal is to give some of the insights of what I saw. I will be giving each of the major areas of the game (offense, defense, and special teams) a letter grade each week and then give a short blurb about the upcoming opponent and some of my thoughts on the next opponent. I hope you enjoy.
Iowa State 20 UNI 19
I thought that overall the offense played very poorly. I thought that the most disappointing positions was the offensive line which is very disappointing because they should be one of the strong point of our game. Simply put, I thought the offensive line played terribly. They were not able to sustain blocks and very rarely were they get to the second level and block UNI’s linebackers. This allowed UNI’s linebackers to pretty much run free most of the game and hold ISU’s three running back who saw action (White, S. Johnson, and Woody) to a combined 62 yards rushing, That is just not going to get it done. UNI’s team speed showed out clearly as the offensive line got beat repeatedly as UNI moved around with different blitz packages getting a lot of pressure on the inexperience quarterback (Jantz), making his very first start in a Cyclone uniform.
ISU had a very hard time moving the ball on offense. In the first half, Iowa State had intermittent times when they were moving the football, but they committed 3 turnovers inside UNI’s territory all in the first half. That just absolutely killed any momentum that ISU was trying to create. That is especially deadly when you are playing a team that you are favored to beat. Amazingly enough, ISU was actually able to go into the half with a 7-6 lead off their only decent drive of the first half. Even that score was difficult. A touchdown pass from Jantz to Reid Branderhorst was overturned. Then 2 pass interference calls on UNI set up a one yard Jantz touchdown plunge into the end zone as time expired.
In the second half, the offense did not do better at all. The came out and opened the second half with a three and out. In fact, they only had one first down the entire second half until 5:37 left in the fourth quarter. Obviously with this very poor offensive production, it is going to be hard to win many games.
Then all of a sudden, the offense decided to start playing and players started executing their assignments and things came together just in time. On a 4th and 10 from the 26 yard line, Jantz rolled right and avoided a tackle and threw a pass to the corner of the end zone and Josh Lenz made a wonderful catch in the corner of the end zone to score a huge touchdown when we were simply on the ropes.
After letting UNI score quickly, the Iowa State offense made a decision that they were not going to be denied and they put together their best drive of the night when it mattered most with the Panthers up 19-14 and 4:17 left in the game. The drive included a 17 yard first down run by Jantz on 3rd and 11. Jantz later had a great 32 yard pass to Aaron Horne that took them to the 2 yard line with 1:36 left in the game. Jantz scored the go ahead score on a sneak for his second rushing touchdown of the game. The two point play was unsuccessful.
I thought we had way too many offensive penalties in the first half. We have got to find a way to reduce this number.
Commenting on the play of QB Steele Jantz, I would say that he grew up a lot. He started out the game looking very nervous. He threw for 3 interceptions in the game which is never good. He was overthrowing many of the receivers and seemed very uneasy. Many times he was throwing off the wrong foot. Then, just when you counted him out, he showed something we have not seen for quite a while. The ability to lead ISU from behind and find a way to win. Jantz stepped up his play and composure and for the last 5 minutes of the game, he looked very good. He showed great potential of what he can do in the future and to be honest, he willed the offense to this win. I do not believe we would have one if another QB had been in there. He finished the game with 80 yards rushing on 20 carries so clearly, defenses are going to have to be afraid of his ability to rush the ball. He passing numbers were 18 of 40 for 187 yards with one touchdown and 3 interceptions. Overall, he did not have a great game, but boy did he show a lot of guts at the end.
I thought overall our receivers did ok, but it is hard to gauge because there were a lot of passes to them that were overthrown. I thought Josh Lentz and Aaron Horne had pretty good games.
I thought that overall the defense played a decent game. We held UNI to 204 yards rushing and 181 yards passing. I thing that the weather partially contributed to this, but anytime you hold a team to those kind of yards and only 19 points in a game, you are giving your team a great chance to win the game. To be honest, if the defense had not played as well as they did, we would have been in big trouble.
I thought that LB Jake Knott was the player of the game. He played outstanding. He made 7 unassisted tackles in the first half alone and was a big reason that UNI had to settle for two field goals in the first half instead of touchdowns. Jake had 15 tackles total for the game. Jake definitely played up to his billing.
I thought that the defensive line played very poorly overall. They got very little pressure on Tirrell Rennie the UNI QB. Rennie was able to get into a very good rhythm early and only with blitzes later in the game were we able to get consistent pressure.
Overall, I thought the secondary played very well. Washington had an outstanding game. We HAVE to get more pressure on the quarterback though if we plan on having a successful season.
I thought that overall the LB played with a lot of heart. They played hard every snap and kept UNI bottled up at times when they really could have broken the game wide open.
The defense had two real letdowns in this game. The first was when they let UNI come down and score on their first offensive possession of the second half following the offenses three and out to start the second half. The second disappointment was when they let Rennie complete a pass to RB David Johnson that led to an 80 yard TD on the first play from scrimmage that allowed UNI to take back the lead right after we had gotten it on offense with a great pass to the corner of the end zone. Our defense can’t let up in those situations and give any momentum back to the other team.
They ended the game on a high note when Willie Scott broke up a hook and ladder play by the Panthers to seal the one point victory.
Special Teams B+
Overall, I thought that the special teams played pretty well. Van Der Kamp had 5 punts for a 51.2 yard average which is excellent. Josh Lentz had 5 kickoff returns for a total yardage of 98 yards. He had several kickoffs that he returned to near midfield in the first half and if he had not, UNI would have been in much better scoring position when the offense sputtered and had the punt the ball to UNI. Zach Guyer, a senior kicker scored the first point of his collegiate career when he kicked an extra point to end the first half. In many ways, I thought that the special teams play was the bright spot of the day and definitely kept us in the game.
Overall Grade B-
On this night 54,672 people filled up the stadium on a cool rainy and windy night to cheer on the team. It was the 4th biggest crowd ever in the stadium and the largest home opener ever. This shows the committment that they have to this team. The weather was a little rough as a storm moved in from the north with high winds and light rain. The reality is that this team did not play great ball, but when they had to, they stepped up and did what it took to win the game. This is not something that past teams have done very well so it was nice to see this. There is a lot of improvements to be made in every area, but that is what college football is all about improving from week 1 to week 2 and I fully expect to see a much better team play the Hawkeyes next week. I am proud of the way they fought and never gave up and made a decision they were not going to lose the game and they did not. The Panthers are a great team and I will root for them the rest of the season. They are from my home and i grew up with them. I fully expect them to win the conference and go very deep into the playoffs. It would not surprise me at all if they won an FCS National Championship this year.
Iowa at Iowa State
The Hawkeyes are coming off a very good win against a very poor Tennessee Tech team which they easily beat 34-7. Heavy rains caused the game to get delayed, but the Hawkeyes fought hard. James Vandenberg looked very solid at quarterback completing 13 of 21 passes for 219 yards. I watched the game and I thought it was a solid win, but Iowa did not look great. They fumbled the ball way too much and definitely do not look unbeatable. In this weeks 11 am kickoff at Jack Trice, I expect both teams to play much better than last week. The keys for victory for ISU will be to control the time of possession, be able to run the ball, and don’t turn the ball over. I think it is going to be a very close game and I think that the Clones will pull the upset and sqwak out a close win in a well fought battle. Go Clones!