Holy cow, was that ugly. I literally wanted to turn off the TV in the fourth quarter, and I noticed that 80% of the people in the stands were gone about half-way through the 3rd. I have a really hard time blaming them, I'm sorry to say.
We could literally spend all day talking about the things that went wrong on Saturday night in Jack Trice Stadium, but what can we feel good about? (Warning, un-supported optimism incoming)
I think we can start with James Capello and Shontrelle Johnson. These two guys give me a lot of hope for next year. Looking at the roster this preseason, there were a lot of "playmaking" guys with senior next to their name. What I find the most promising is that Paul Rhoads is bringing in his own recruits and getting them to perform when needed. This is going to be huge down the road.
I think it's also positive that at no point did the sideline look dejected. They continued to play with their heads high, taking the whipping but not giving up. It didn't help this week, but it will some future day in a two minute drill down by 2 points to someone in the 4th quarter. It speaks of mental toughness and resiliency.
So what about my points from Friday on what to watch for? It's about to get ugly...
I talked about the Defensive line stepping up, but it didn't happen. There was never any penetration of the Utah Offensive Line, and they were ineffective at stopping the run. It's going to be difficult to see any improvement next week at Oklahoma, but the gentlemen up front need some help. It was mentioned several times last week and many times during the game on Saturday that Utah rotates 11 guys through it's defensive line. That's insane, on the face of it, but when you have that kind of depth, you can do some pretty incredible things. More than anything, we've been seeing how the lack of depth on the Iowa State Football team can cause issues. I'm sure Paul Rhoads see's it and is working on it for future years.
More after the jump
Believe it or not, this was actually something of a bright spot. The team as a whole and especially the offense played with discipline. There were penalties, yes, but they weren't game changing ones, like we've seen since the beginning of the season. Good job on this guys.
In some ways, the team showed more maturity this week than they did against Texas Tech. In other ways... they fell on their faces. You can be certain that some people in Norman and Austin just breathed a little sigh of relief after last night's game. Oklahoma and Texas already have enough competition, they didn't need a plucky Iowa State coming in and ruining their season (in Oklahoma's case) or day (in Texas's case). I'm not saying we don't have a shot at these games, but it's a lot less likely than I would have thought last week.
In no place did we get torched more than we did on Special Teams. Utah had almost as many yards on special teams as they did on Offense, and that's just sick. The 103 yard kickoff return for a touchdown really was the final nail in the coffin that told everyone the game was over. Everyone should pray long and hard that this gets worked on before the team heads to Norman.
So in the end, there was plenty bad to talk about, and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I think it's time to move on to the next game though. Look for more about Oklahoma as the week progresses!