At least you'll always have the Ohio State game Hawkeye fans.
That was a dismantling. I believe Iowa fans coined the phrase "Woodshed, IA 52242" last week. Well change the state and zip code if you want but Saturday's game was the same. And as much as I want to, I'm not going to talk a lot about that game and rub it in to Hawkeyes fans because the game spoke enough for me. Part of me wanted to devote all three sections of today's Three Count to this game but I'm going to stick to just one. And honestly, it's not like Wisconsin played terrifically well either, at least on the offensive end, so it's not like I have a lot of room to brag about the Badgers. That was just a case of one team being better than the other this season, combined with the fact that it was played at the better team's stadium.
I texted a Badger buddy of mine after the first quarter and told him Iowa wasn't going to score an offensive touchdown in that game. Through 15 minutes, that looked painfully obvious. I wouldn't have bet my life on that by any means because it's still sports and 18-22 year old kids out there playing but after one quarter of play Iowa not scoring an Offensive TD seemed much more likely than them figuring out a way to find the end zone through Wisconsin's defense.
That game reminded me of a Varsity team playing against their JV team, if the Varsity had been out all night partying and game into the game with hangovers. The Varsity were clearly better but struggled to find their groove early and let the JV hang around. Once push came to shove though, the Varsity impaired their will and dominated the JV.
Jonathon Tayler, Wisconsin's running back, had more yards after contact on his runs (94) than Iowa had of entire total offense (66). Now I know the yards after contact stats can be a bit misleading. Just because someone "contacts" the runner doesn't mean they were in any position to tackle him but that's still a damning stat for Iowa and their offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
66 Total Yards of offense.
5 First Downs
0 Offensive Points
Remember those stats when Brian Ferentz starts running his mouth to the media again next offseason trying to seem tough like he did last offseason.
Hell of an effort the past two weekends from the Cyclones. I was not shy about my concerns for the Matt Campbell Era coming into the season but I'd be lying if I said I was anything but impressed with what he's done this year in Ames. The next two weeks are still imperative, obviously, but even a split of those two games puts them at 7-5. That's quite the season. And he had his team legitimately contending for a Big 12 Championship in November. That hasn't happened for Cyclone Nation in ages.
And I've actually been more impressed with what the Cyclones have built in the past two weeks than I was with their wins over Oklahoma and TCU. The past two weeks saw the Cyclones face some legitimate adversity and keep battling. That's the sign of a good team, in my eyes. That Oklahoma game was a whirlwind and a shocking upset, I can see how they ride that emotion to a win. Even that TCU win to a point could fall under that same umbrella, it was the beginning of a great seasonal story in Ames. But the last two weeks have really tested the reserve and the fortitude of this team and they've responded.
Coming off the TCU win the Cyclones had to travel to West Virginia, a traditionally difficult place to play either football or basketball for Iowa State. And they got down 14-0 in the blink of an eye. I thought that was going to get ugly quick. But the Cyclones held the fort, battled back, and had a chance to win in the 4th quarter. That shows me something about a young team. Same type of story this week against Oklahoma State. Iowa State comes out to a quick 14-0 lead this time, only to see the Pokes come back to tie and eventually take the lead. That could be a brutal blow for some teams but Iowa State stayed resilient and battled back again. They drove the field on the last possession and had 1st and Goal to tie the game. It didn't end up the way they wanted it to (we'll talk about that play in the final point) but it impressed the hell out of me. It's easy to play hard and fight when things are going your way (Oklahoma, TCU) but it shows me more when you battle and fight when things aren't going your way (West Virginia, Oklahoma State).
Well done Matt Campbell. Well done Cyclones.
UNPOPULAR IOWA STATE FAN OPINION ALERT:
That final play in the Iowa State - Oklahoma State game was definitely an interception.
I get that Iowa State fans have been programmed to complain about officiating regardless of the situation but I was amazed with how many Cyclones fans thought that should have been an ISU touchdown. I thought at best, Iowa State fans could have hoped for it to be ruled as an incomplete pass. That possibly the Cyclones player caused enough of a disruption in the catch while the players came to the ground to call it incomplete as they rolled out of bounds. But even that seemed less and less likely with the more replays that we got. The Oklahoma State player had possession, in bounds, and it was called correctly in my opinion.
You can show me all the still photos you want that are floating around Twitter with the Cyclones player "pinning" the ball to the chest of Okie State defender, but it's not changing my opinion. The real life video that shows you everything on that play clearly shows what happened. The Okie State player caught the ball, brought it to his own chest, and controlled the ball. Along the way, the Iowa State player touched the ball while that process was happening. Interception Cowboys.
I find it hard to believe rational people can watch that play and believe it should have been ruled a Cyclones touchdown, even to the point where fans are still complaining about it.