Last night ISU knocked out the second nonconference game of their season against Kent State posting a score of 48-28. It's tough to find too much wrong with a 20 point victory (and one where they obliterate the 7.5 spread) but this game left a lot to be positive about and a lot that needs to be improved upon.
It is games like these that really make me want to make friends with a bookie because I really had no doubt ISU would beat that spread. However it's how they got their points that was simultaneously frustrating as well as gratifying. Let's talk about the positive things first though simply because it's more fun.
ISU might have good special teams? The simple thought is hard to comprehend after watching the disaster that was last year, especially considering there are so many true freshman prominently involved. If you count it up, there were two blocked punts, a fumble recovery on a punt, Brandtner putting three balls inside the 20 and putting a punt from his own endzone all the way to the 45, Mahoney making a 48 yarder, true freshman Leonard Johnson tearing up kickoff returns, etc. Literally one could go on and on about the improvement and great play on special teams.
The passing game was once again surgically precise. Arnaud was 8/11 for 166 yards and one TD while Bates was 3/6 for 48 yards and 1 TD. No INT's yet on the year and Bates made some great plays with his legs again. Arnaud completing his passes at an almost 77% clip. Both still are making cases for that overall #1 starting spot. Life is good for the Quarterbacks.
RJ Sumrall is a senior at ISU and has had a pretty solid career at ISU at WR but had yet to catch a touchdown pass. Against Kent State he had what was arguably his best game as a Cyclone going for over 100 yards and two scores. You really have to be happy for the kid.
Also, the unheralded Houston Jones really made some noise at WR at well, making a few great catches. He also had a great catch in the SDSU game and he really may be positioning himself for a larger role in his last two seasons.
It's tough to get too down about a game where your team wins by 20 but as good as some units did others were just as bad.
Mental mistakes were terrible in this game again. Arnaud has two fumbles, neither of which should have happened. Bates got pulled in the 2nd quarter after taking two huge losses on consecutive plays. There was another bevy of personal fouls. No pass rush to speak of without heavy blitzing. There were probably more missed tackles than ISU rushing yards gained. I think at this point it would be helpful if we found out Andre Kimm was a professor ISU and was interested in one last run because we know that guy can wrap up.
Andre does not eat raw meat. 'Cause Andre is a vegetarian.
The running game was nonexistent. I know people will be quick to point out that Alexander Robinson didn't play but there is no cure for your offensive line not opening holes. With the exception of Bates' 56 yard run in garbage time, ISU rushed 44 times for 104 yards at 2.36 per rush. That's terrible. If you take out all quarterback rushes tailbacks gained only 55 yards on 27 rushes for a 2.04 average.
I think a game like this is better than just running a buzzsaw through the opposing team but there are obvious problems with this team. I hope we can get to 6-6 and I'd love to win next week but there are some big things that need amended before I'd put money on either.
Basically I like that they won and put up back to back 40+ point games. Good stuff. However I'm wary that it really took forcing a bunch of turnovers and great special teams play to really put away Kent State. It's only going to get tougher from here and there are a lot of problems that need addressed.