Oklahoma 35 ISU 20
On a surprisingly warm Nov. morning, 56,585 (3rd largest crowd in school history) faithful ISU fans watched the Sooners just overpower and beat the Cyclones. I think AJ Klein summed up the game best with the following quote, “We didn’t play well enough to win. It was a tough loss, we just have to move on.” I agree totally with what AJ said. We simply just didn’t play well enough to win. We did lots of good things on offense, defense, and special teams, but it was just not enough good things. There were too many opportunities left on the field. We struggled to get the Oklahoma offense off the field and we struggled to keep the ball on the field on offense. It really was that simple.
Before we get too down on the game, I want us to take a moment and remember that this was Oklahoma. There is a reason they do so well year in and year out. They are a great football team. They have great athletes. They play well as a team. We are definitely closing the gap so that when we play teams like this, it is not a total mismatch, but we are not there yet. At least we are to the point that we can keep the game relatively close and put a little fear into the minds of the opponent. It was clear though from Saturday that the Sooners did not overlook us or take us lightly.
On offense we had 290 yds offense (99 yds rushing, 191 yds passing). It was not our greatest performance on offense, especially compared to last weeks performance, but it wasn’t our worst either. Oklahoma has the best defense of any of the teams we have faced so far this year and probably the entire year. OU lines up and plays man to man defense on almost every play and dares you to beat them and most teams can’t. We couldn’t either. I think that we played smart on offense for the most part, but we just had trouble again sustaining drives.
It may seem like a broken record, but we really struggled running the ball. If you take Jantz’s 11 runs out, our RBs only ran the ball 12 times and our leading rusher, Johnson, only had 28 yds rushing. When you can’t run the ball, it allows teams to key on your passing game. It seemed like the only time we could move the ball was when we strung several passes together, but this did not happen very often. Our best run of the night was a 19 yd reverse run for a TD by Jarvis West. They called that play at the perfect time and it worked to perfection.
We lost the time of possession battle. OU had the ball 36:11 to only our 23:49. Clearly, we let OU have the ball for way too much of the game. We were only 5-14 on 3rd down, which is not good enough. It was very tough because we were left with 3rd and long so many times in that game. Our offense had only 2 penalties for 10 yds for the game so I thought that we showed great discipline. We only had 1 turnover in the game which was an INT thrown by Jantz in the 4th quarter after the game had been decided. The throw should not have been made, but overall, I thought our offense did an outstanding job of not turning the ball over.
I thought that overall, the offensive line played pretty good in this game. They definitely need to work on their run blocking. It will be important that they create holes so our offense can develop a running game. When we run the ball, we are a much bigger threat. I thought that overall our pass blocking was outstanding. It seemed like Jantz had a lot of time back in the pocket to make decisions. The Sooners were blitzing a lot and the OL did a good job of picking up those blitzes. They did give up 3 sacks, but considering how good the OU defense is, that was not too bad.
I thought that Steele Jantz had a pretty good game overall. He was 20 for 40 passing the ball for 191 yds, no TDs and 1 INT. These stats aren’t great, but overall, I thought Jantz did a great job of standing in the pocket and making good reads on passes and had some really nice throws. Jantz ended up running the ball 11 times for 21 yds, but he was not as quick to run the ball, which I think really shows his development as a QB. Jantz had been very inconsistent in past performances having a good game followed by a really bad game. I am glad to see that Jantz has not had 2 solid performances in a row. This is definitely something he can build on as we finish out this season.
Our WRs are still struggling. Dropped passes at crucial times in the game are still a big concern. There were crucial drops by Horne, West, and Lenz in this game. I really am having a hard time explaining why Aaron Horne is struggling so much. He is our leading receiver on the team and he has just looked terrible the past two games. We need for him to really step up his game in the final stretch. Josh Lenz returned to the lineup and saw some limited action. He had one big reception for 25 yds that was a huge momentum shift when it occurred. I though Bundrage played a very solid game having 4 catches for 44 yds. Albert Gary had 4 catches for 21 yds and Young had 3 catches for 33 yds. Even our RB Shontrelle Johnson got involved in the passing game having 2 catches out of the backfield for 33 yds. That helps take some of the pressure off the WRs.
Our defense has been outstanding this season, but this was probably the worst performance by our defense this season. We could not get the Sooners off the field. OU averaged 7.0 yds per play they ran on offense. You are not going to beat anyone when you are allowing that many yds on each play. Our defense gave up 593 yds (188 rushing, 405 passing) to OU on the day. We allowed the Sooners to move the ball almost at will and made them look very smooth doing it. We could not stop them on 3rd down. The Sooners converted on 64.3% of their 3rd downs and started the game by converting 8 of 11 3rd downs. 35 points was the most points that our defense has allowed all season. There were some bright pots for the Cyclones on defense, but they tended to be overshadowed. The Sooners had 26 plays that went for 10 yds or greater. That is a staggering number.
Landry Jones was on fire against us and we did very little to stop his great day. Jones was 32 for 45 passing for 405 yds and had 4 TD passes and 2 INTs. The only time Jones made bad passes is when our defense got some pressure in his face and unfortunately, that happened way too rarely in this game. Jones had all day to make decisions in this game and as a result, he absolutely shredded our defense.
We needed to stop their running game to give us a chance and we did not even come close. Our defense has been really strong against the run this season, but not in this game. We allowed Clay, OU’s backup RB, to gain 157 yds on 24 rushes. That is a 6.5 yd average every time he ran the ball. We have to do a better job of stopping the run if we want to limit opposing offenses.
It was not all doom and gloom on the defensive side of the ball. Our defense held a very potent OU offense to no points the entire first quarter. Unfortunately, the defense showed an inability to keep OU out of the end zone in the second half, which is normally something our defense is really good at.
Our defense was doing a great job after causing 2 turnovers in the form of Durell Givens INTs and had just scored our second FG to pull within 7-6, which would have given us great momentum. Unfortuantely, our defense let up and allowed OU to drive 75 yds in only 12 seconds on 4 plays to score a TD right before the half to put them up 14-6 going into the half. There is no excuse for allowing that to happen, even if there were two big catches. That short series changed the makeup of the game and we really let them off the hook. If they don’t score there, it would have been a totally different game. Then after the half, OU comes out on offense and goes on a 14 play, 75 yd drive to score another TD to make the score 21-6. Those are two critical points that we needed the defense to step up and they simply could not do it.
I thought that our secondary and LBs played OK, but our DL needs to step up their game and provide more pressure on the QB. We did not get any sacks in this game and pressure is the only thing that can disrupt high-powered offenses like OU’s and the one we will face this week in Texas. Our defense really needs to step up and play like the defense we have come to expect. Our great defensive play has kept us in countless ball games this season, but if they are not playing well, we are in big trouble.
I thought that top to bottom, our special teams played a very solid game. Our punter Kirby VanDerKamp had 3 punts inside of the OU 20. That makes 24 of 55 punts for the season downed inside the opponents 20 yd line, which is outstanding. VanDerKamp’s steady, game in and game out exceptional play has been a real boost to this team Arceo, our kicker had his best game as a Cyclone. He made FGs of 27 and 51 yds. He made all his extra points. He had 2 KOs into the end zone and even had a tackle on a KO return. Our KO cover team allowed 2 returns for 54 yds, which still needs improvement. Our KO return team had 3 returns for 56 yds, which is very solid. The special teams will have to continue to play well if we want to make it to a bowl game this year.
For MVP in this game, I selected 2 people. The first is Durell Givens. Durrell had 2 INTs that led to 2 ISU FGs. Givens has accounted for 8 turnover this season including 5 fumble recoveries, which leads the nation. He also had 10 tackles on the day. The other MVP was Jeremiah George. He had to step up and play well in the absence of Jake Knott. George was hitting hard and flying to the hole on runs and had 17 tackles on the day. His previous high in tackles for a game was 9. My honorable mention for MVP goes to Edwin Arceo, who as I just talked about, had his best game as a Cyclone.
Special Teams B+
Overall, I think that we played a very average game at best. Against good teams, like the Sooners, you just can’t play this way and expect to win. Even our best effort might not have beaten the Sooners on this day, but it would have made the game a lot closer than it really was.
Texas Longhorns (7-2, 4-2)
Sat. 11/10/12 11 am
Darrell K Royal Texas Memorial Stadium
The Cyclones are 1-8 all time vs. Texas. We had a huge upset the last time we traveled to their stadium. Last year we lost to the Longhorns 37-14 in Jack Trice Stadium in a game that we did not play very well in.
The Longhorn defense is 8th in the Big 12 in yds/game and they have given up at least 31 points in 5 of 8 of their first games. This gives our offense an opportunity to do some things. We need to have a solid game on offense.
On defense, we have our work cut out for us. Texas has the nation’s 40th best offense, averaging 441 yds per game and they are coming off a really solid win against Texas Tech in Lubbock 31-22. The Longhorns currently have a 3 game winning streak. Their starting QB David Ash passed for 264 yds and 3 TDs in that game. If Ash struggles at all, they are not afraid to put in backup QB McCoy like they did against Kansas. If that name sounds familiar, it should, this is Casey McCoy’s younger brother. WR Mike Davis had 165 yds including one 75 yd reception in the win over the Red Raiders. Our defense needs to really step up after their last performance.
One thing I have learned from Coach Rhoad’s teams is that they usually follow-up a sub par performance with a really great performance so I expect the Cyclones to play really well this Saturday against the Longhorns. I think that the Cyclones will play much better this week and I think they have a great shot at getting the upset. I can’t wait for Saturday!