More Week 3 Thoughts

Below are my thoughts about the Cyclones' win last night and some general takeaways on the season thus far:

  • This win isn't a season-maker, but we avoided a season-breaker. Had ISU lost this game, could you have honestly picked another game on the schedule for Iowa State to win?
  • Our offensive line has improved.
    • Kent State has supposed to have a decent defense this year, but we ran for 227 yards on 5.5 yards per carry.
    • You might say "well it's Kent State", which is true, but last year against Kent State we ran for 160 yards on 3.6 yards/carry. Phillip Bates ran for 83 of those yards on 8 carries.
    • If you look at the running back play productivity against Kent State this year compare to last, they picked up 185 rushing yards averaging 5.78 yards per carry in 2009 vs. 55 rushing yards averaging 1.96 yards per carry in 2008.
    • Also with protecting the quarterback, our QBs were not sacked at all last night, compared to twice against Kent State last year
    • Iowa State currently sits 13th in the nation in rushing yards/game, averaging 212 thus far.
  • The turnovers we commit are worrisome. Iowa State is tied for last in the nation with 5 giveaways per game. Last year it was 1.7 per game.
    • The reason why this hasn't been hurting us as much as because of our opponent quality, and also because Iowa State is averaging 3.5 takeaways/game on defense (tied for 5th best). 
    • Had we played a Big 12 opponent, but committed the turnovers we did last night, we would've probably lost the game.  While we lost 3 fumbles, we put the ball on the ground 2 other times. It could've easily been another 6 turnover game.
    • As we play better opponents, the opportunities to pick up takeaways will likely decrease. Even if the takeaway rate sustained for the year, you want that to help you win games instead of keeping you in games.
  • We still have a lot of areas for improvement defensively. Our front front is the biggest area. The past 2 games, our front four has only combined for 12 solo tackles, 1 sack, and 4.5 tackles for a loss. 5 of those solo tackles, the 1 sack, and 2 of those tackles for a loss came from Christopher Lyle last night. As a fan, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the details when you see 14 points allowed. Against better teams, if our front four can't step up and make some plays, we will have a hard time winning games.
  • Players that deserve some props from Week 3:

    • The entire Cyclone offensive line. They protected our QBs, and the running game picked up 227 yards, mostly because of the huge holes the line created.
    • Jake Williams - 4 catches, 51 yards, and 1 TD (first career)
    • Alexander Robinson - 23 rushes for 143 yards and 1 TD (no fumbles)
    • Christopher Lyle - 7 tackles (5 solo), 1 sack, 2 tackles for loss, 1 pass deflection, 1 QB hurry
    • James Smith - 8 tackles (3 solo), and an amazing diving interception
    • Josh Raven - 5 tackles (all solo), 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss

    Other Thoughts:

    • Where was Bo Williams? Down the stretch Schwartz played some, and then Beau Blankenship played a handful of snaps as well. I'm not sure if Schwartz was benched because of his fumble, or if the staff just wanted to give another guy some snaps. Bo is the 3rd guy listed on the depth chart, but we saw Blankenship play. The coaches did talk Blankenship up quite a bit in the preseason, but if he really is the 3rd guy, then list him as the 3rd guy.
    • This was the first time ISU has had a rusher go for over 100 yards in consecutive games since Stevie Hicks in 2005.
    • Austen Arnuad is now #8 all time (for ISU)  in passing yardage (3,509), and is tied for 6th with Sage Rosenfels in all time completions (306). Brett Meyer is the all time leader in both categories with 9499 yards, and 820 completions
    • We are looking to be a better running team than passing team, which is somewhat suprising. I'm not certain what is holding the passing game up. Is it the complexitiy of the system, whereas perhaps the running is more straightforward? As a fan, I really don't care what we have to do, as long as we win games. Right now we are able to control the game by running the ball successfully, and if that is what's needed to win, I'm all for it. Perhaps in due time, the passing game will pick up and we will become a more balanced threat.

    What are your takeaways from this game and also the season?

    This week, we play Army. I think they will present many challenges to the Cyclones, particularly the defense. For starters, they average 257.7 yards/game. More on Army as the week goes on!

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