Texas 33 ISU 7
On a beautiful, warm day in Austin Texas, a capacity crowd of 100,018 watched the Longhorns just dominate the Cyclones. To be honest, I was tempted to just refer all of you to my blog about the Oklahoma game for my recap of this game because I realized that I would be writing almost exactly the same things that I did in last weeks blog. After more consideration, I did decide to write a blog about this game, but it will be more brief than last week because I am getting tired of writing the same thing over and over again.
There were some good things that the offense did. I thought that they ran the ball very well in the first half. The Cyclones had 111 yds rushing in the first half against a very good defense and were averaging 4.6 yds per run, which is very respectable. Shontrelle Johnson had a very solid game and rushed the ball 9 times for 57 yds rushing. James White ran the ball 13 times for 48 yds. Jantz scrambled 8 times for 36 yds. The problem is that we did not continue to run as well in the second half having only 33 yds rushing. A big reason for that was that we started passing the ball more in an attempt to try to get back into this ball game. The offensive line did a much better job of run blocking. Our RBs had some pretty good-sized holes to run through, which was great to see. We will have to continue to do this to have success on offense.
Our biggest problem on offense right now is our inability to finish drives. Here are some telling numbers for you. On two of our first four drives on offense, we had the ball inside the Texas 40 yd line. That is great, but the problem is that we scored no points on any of those four drives. Over the past two games, our offense has crossed into the opponent’s territory 14 times and have scored only 27 points. That means we are only averaging 1.9 points scored each time we move the ball past the 50 yd line. That is not very good. We only moved the ball past the 50 yd line twice in the second half against Texas and did not score any points. That is not going to win games, especially against a team like Texas on the road.
I thought we moved the ball well at times, but we just continue to struggle at finishing drives and turning those good plays into points. Our lack of sustained drives is really starting to have an effect on wearing out our defense. We again lost the time of possession battle in this game 38:12 to 21:48. Our offense on the day had 277 yds of offense (144 yds rushing, 133 yds passing), which just is not good enough.
On a good note, 10 different Cyclones caught passes on Saturday. That is definitely good ball distribution. A big problem though was that our pass blocking was not very good. Settle Jantz was getting pressure on almost every pass and while Jantz did not have a terrible game throwing 15 for 29 for 133 yds, 1 TD, and 2 INTs, it was far from a great game and we could really use another great game from him again soon. Our offense has been very average and our inability to string together drives that end in TDs is really hurting our chances of winning.
On this day, it was Darrell Royal Tribute Day at the stadium since the legendary coach passed away last Wednesday. Mack Brown announced ahead of time that they would come out and run the first play out of the wishbone formation in honor of their old coach. They did just that, but it was anything but conventional. The wishbone is a formation that is a strong running formation, but Texas put a wild spin on what you can do out of that formation. On the first play of the game, out of the wishbone formation, Texas ran a pitch to the right to WR Jaxon Shipley, who then threw back across the field to the left to QB David Ash, who then threw a 47 yd strike to WR Greg Daniels down the field. It was a well drawn up play that was run perfectly. As a defense, we can’t allow them to do something like that because it gave them great momentum. While Texas did not ultimately score on the play, it did set the tone for the game.
Our defense did not play very well in this game. Texas seemed to move the ball with ease throughout the whole game. They gave up 609 yds of offense (222 yds rushing, 387 yds passing) to the Longhorns. That is just way too many yds given up. It seemed like Texas was running the ball at will and looked like they were running over our defense at times. Bergeron ran the ball 12 times for 86 yds and Gray ran the ball 14 times for 71 yds. Missed tackles was also a huge issue. This is even more disappointing because our defense has shown how good they can be, but they have not shown that the last few games and that is really disappointing.
Our defense allowed Texas to convert on 8 of 14 3rd downs, which is not that good. A big problem was that our DL never established the line of scrimmage and we did not get any real pressure on Ash all day. Ash was also very hot. He completed his first 11 passes. He finished the game 25 for 31 for 364 yds, 2 TDs, and no INTs.
Our defense has struggled lately to get turnovers and this game didn’t help since we got no turnovers on defense. Getting turnovers on defense has to be a part of a winning formula for winning against a team like Texas on the road and unfortunately, we could not do that in this game. On a good note, our defense did have a great stop on 4th and 1 in the 3rd qtr and got the ball back. Maybe our defense is just starting to wear out. A whole season of spending most of the game on the field hasn’t helped and playing in the Texas heat didn’t help, but at some point our defense needs to get angry and find a way to play the way they were in the first half of the season. The rest of our season depends on it.
I thought that the special teams played a decent game. Areceo missed a 53 yd FG wide left, but this is not a huge concern because that would have been a career long for him. He did make his only extra point attempt. Kirby VanDerKamp punted the ball 7 times for 264 yds, which is a 37.7 yd average. Two of those punts were inside the Texas 20. David Irving stepped up big and had a huge block on a Texas FG attempt. He is a physical specimen and with continued improvement, I look for great things from him in the future.
Special Teams B-
11/17/12 6 pm
Memorial Stadium Lawrence, Kansas
Kansas is not a great team by any means. They have lost 9 games in a row. They have lost 19 Big 12 games in a row. At the same time, they have been playing much better football and have given some really good teams some scares. Just this past Saturday in Lubbock, it took 2 OTs for the Red Raiders to beat the Jayhawks 41-34. They also almost beat Texas and Oklahoma State. The two Jayhawk players to watch are QB Michael Cummings and RB Tony Pierson. Pierson had 16 carries for 202 yds rushing last Saturday.
If we stay focused and come out and play a good solid game, we will beat this team and get our 6th win of the season to become bowl eligible, but if we come out and struggle and let the Jayhawks stay in this game, this could spell big trouble for the Cyclones. This Kansas team is very capable of beating us. We HAVE to be ready to play. I think we will be ready and I think the Cyclones will come out and play well. I will be traveling to this game and watching it in person so I am excited about that. I look forward to a great game on Saturday. Go Cyclones!