The Cyclone offense finally showed up at Jack Trice stadium in the 2nd half. One wonders where they were, maybe back in Austin still. Regardless, they came back and blistered the Jayhawks for 220 yards.... in the third quarter. Paul Rhoads clearly let off the gas in the fourth quarter, giving backups some time on the field and allowing a garbage time 4th quarter touchdown by Kansas, but clearly the Cyclones could have kept on rolling for more.
Since I didn't get a chance to write a "What To Watch For" post last week, let's examine a few different units on the field and how they stacked up this week.
Such an enormous improvement over the first 7 games of the season, it's really hard to believe. Last week and this week the D-Line has achieved penetration and harassed the quarterback. The result? Two Cyclone victories. It's not a co-incidence. Previously, the Iowa State D-Line was in such a sad state that opposing quarterbacks could read War and Peace in the pocket, regardless of how good the Secondary is, they can't maintain coverage forever. In turn, quarterback pressure takes some of the load off the linebackers, so they can concentrate on stopping the run game and the underneath passes. As Wally says, "It all starts on the line"
More after the jump
The Cyclone Running back stable is full of not only bodies, but talent. Alexander Robinson, Jeff Woody and Shontrelle Johnson smoked the Kansas defense for carry after carry, providing three rushing touch downs in the third quarter. Johnson's TD came from 33 yards out, on an impressive sprint into the end-zone. This unit loses Robinson next year, but the team will still be in good hands.
Every Cyclone fan owes Josh Lenz a favor. The momentum was turning just before half time in Jack Trice stadium and everyone could feel it. The 62 yard punt return for a touchdown provided a spark that lit the Offense in the 2nd half. I can't help but think Josh Lenz will get Big 12 Special Teams player of the week.
If you're looking for a reason for the slow start for the Cyclones, my guess is that you'll have to look no further than the O-line. Starting Center and leader of the line, Ben Lamaak, was out this week with a sprained MCL. Alex Alvarez took his place, and you've got to think there was a bit of a learning curve going on. When the O-line gelled in the 2nd half, the offense took off. I don't blame these guys, they obviously missed Lamaak, but I'm impressed they pulled it together mid-game. Regardless, I hope Ben makes it back for next week's match against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Overall, the Cyclones polished off a team that they were expected to beat. At the same time, they proved that their defense is on the upswing. Kansas had at least 4 or 5 three and outs and that's always a good sign for a defense. Quinn Mecham really played a good game for a first-time starter at the college level, but it's never fun to take the helm of a team in that kind of situation.