Texas Tech 24 ISU 13
54,149 loyal ISU fans showed up on a beautiful fall day to come support their Cyclones and watch them do something they haven’t done since the 2000 season, start the season 4-0. The stage was set and ISU ready to step out on stage. A good performance here would help erase the past and show that ISU is not the same team of old. That we can win these types of games and move into the upper half of the Big 12. Unfortunately, it was not to be. While, the defense, played a very solid game, they eventually ran out of gas. The special teams was spotty at best. The offense, well, they were downright horrible.
Here are a couple of startling statistics for you. When the halftime gun sounded, our offense had 3 yards passing on 2 completions. Really? How is that even possible. In fact, on A.J. Klein’s 87 yard interception return for a touchdown, he gained more yards than our entire offense did in the first half which earned 63 yards. That is just downright sad. For the game, our offense managed only 189 total yards on defense. This included 116 yards rushing and 73 yards passing. We could not sustain drives and get our dfense off the field. 8 of our 12 offensive possessions, we had 3 plays or less. The offense finsihed the game 5 of 14 on 3rd downs.
Going into the game, we knew that an area that we really needed to improve upon were turnovers. Well, we definately did not improve in this area. We had 4 turnovers in this game. 3 interceptions and a fumble. As long as we continue to lose the turnover battle, we have little chance to be successful moving forward. If these turnovers continue, we really don’t have a realistic chance to win hardly any of our games.
The offense did manage one good offensive drive on the day and that was coming right out of the locker room to start the third quarter. The offense came out and had a 74 yard drive, which included a great 21 yard scramble by Steele Jantz on 3rd down to keep the drive alive. The drive ended with a TD on a 5 yd TD pass from Jantz to Brun. Great drive, but you have to have more that one drive like that a game.
When you get down to the heart of the matter, the problem begins and ends with the offensive line. The offensive line set the tone for the game. We simply never controlled the line of scrimmage. We need to come out and knock the Tech line off the ball and make a statement that this year, this team is different. That never happened. Our line did not open holes for our RBs to run the ball, and we let the Tech line pressure Jantz out of the pocket way too many times on passing plays. The line is a cohesive unit of 5 guys so it does no good to point out certain lineman, but as a group, they dropped the ball in this game. They should feel hurt and embarrassed. How they come back and play against TCU will define the character that the line has. If they don’t come back and play much better, we won’t have a chance next week. We will see what they do.
I thought that the play calling was not very good at all. Courtney Messingham is our offensive coordinator and this falls directly on him. Courtney was calling the plays from up in the booth for the first time, and it was not a good debut. The play calling was very predicatable. Sitting in the stands, there were several times I called what our next play was going to be and was right. I guarantee if I can do that, the Tech defensive coordinator could certainly do the same. We have to change up our play calling and or sequencing moving forward or we are going to continue to struggle to put points on the board. We have as good of a defense as we have had here at ISU since the disco era. Our defense is a good as some of the tip teams in the conference. Our offense does not have to score 70 + points/game to win like West Virginia, but we certainly have to score more than 13. We have to find a way to give our defense a break. We can’t expect the defense to continue to stop them over and over and over again with little to no rest between series.
Now lets talk about QB. Steele Jantz did not play a good game. He made several bad decisions. He seemed out of tune with his recievers at times. He forced some passes into areas where he should not have. The pinacle of the futility came inthe 4th quarter when Jantz, while scrambling, simply dropped the football without even being hit. Really? How does that happen? I’m not saying that Jared Barnett would do any better than Jantz out there, but I don’t think he can do any worse. The problem is that the fans are starting to lose confidence in Jantz’s ability to perform at critical times. When this happens, you have to do something. Either Jantz needs to step it up or you have to make a QB change. Jantz has had more than enough opportunities to perform and overall, he has just not gotten it done. His window of opportunity is quickly closing. We have to do something. In my opinion, you have to start Barnett against TCU. Maybe by simply changing the QB we can gain some sort of badly needed momentum on offense.
Just so we make sure that credit is given where it is deserved, I want to say that i thought that Texas Tech played an outstanding game on defense. They were definately ready to play. They were embarrassed from their performance at home against us last year and they did something about it. They controlled the line of scrimmage from the start. They limited our gains on run plays and pressured jantz all night on passing plays and recorded 3 sacks in the process. They forced 3 turnovers and got an unforced fumble recovery. They stepped up when they really needed to and they were a big difference in this game.
I thought that overall, our defense played another outstanding game. We took a team that was averaging over 50 points a game and only allowed 7 points in the first half. I thought our secondary played outstanding defense and broke up pass after pass. We only allowed Tech 395 yards on offense including 332 yards passing and a mere 63 yards rushing. The defense scored our only points in the first half and had 2 interceptions on the game. Our defense clearly kept us in the game and gave us to opportunity to win all the way to the fourth quarter.
Our special teams struggled again at times during this game. Arceo missed a 49 yard FG in the game which happens, but there is no excuse for him missing his second extra point on the season. Extra points need to be automatic and should never be missed. It is all mental with him and he has to find a way tomove past this and become more consistent in this area. I thought that our KO cover and punt cover units need to improve on the return yardage we are allowing. On KO returns, we allowed 3 returns for a 23 yard average and on punt returns, we allowed 2 for a 31 yd average. That is too many. I thought our bright spot was our punter, Kirby Van Der Kamp. He had 6 punts for a 49.3 yd average. He continues to be one of the bright spots for this team and has given us favorable field position time after time.
I think you could give the MVP award to the entire defense, but I felt that one defensive player really stood out. A.J. Klein had an INT return for a TD of 87 yards in the first quarter. This is his 4th INT return for Td of his career and gave us great momentum starting the game. He had 7 tackles in the first half and 11 tackles for the game. He was all over the field and gave Doege a hard time all night. He continues to live up to his billing as one of the best linebackers in the country.
Special Teams C
2:30 pm 10/6/12
Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, TX
Mark my words, TCU will be ready to play. They struggled at times in their 24-16 win over SMU last week. Their QB, Casey Pachall, threw for 2 TDs in that game and is the palyer to watch on offense. Jason Verrett had 2 INTs on defense. One wekness of TCU is their penalties. They had 13 penalties for 140 yards last week. If we can cut down on turnovers and move the ball on offense, we have a real shot at an upset this week.