ISU coach Paul Rhoads said his team did not tackle well but some of that was because of the talent of Utah.
"There was clearly a difference in team speed out there tonight," Rhoads said. "That showed in all three phases and we were soundly beaten in all three phases."
Utes' quarterback Jordan Wynn, who was coming off an injury, threw for 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns and was also helped out by short fields that were set up by his defense and special teams.
Wynn, however, contributed to the Cyclones' first quarter lead with a turnover. Iowa State started the game with the ball but had to punt and punter Kirby Van Der Kamp pinned the Utes on their own 3-yar line. Bailey Johnson forced a fumble that was recovered by David Sims at the 7-yard line two plays later.
Alexander Robinson opened the scoring with a two-yard touchdown on an option pitch shortly after that. Utah made it 7-3 after a 53-yard pass put them deep in Cyclone territory but the Iowa State defense stiffened inside the red zone. Iowa State went three-and-out and its special teams' struggles began when Shaky Smithson broke several tackles and set up a touchdown by returning a punt to the Cyclone 2-yard line.
"When teams score like that you have to be able to answer as an offense and we didn't," Arnaud said. "We moved the ball at times but we just didn't get it done."
The Cyclone did answer once more in the first quarter following a Wynn interception thrown to Sims at the Utah 37. Arnaud hit Jake Williams for a great catch on a fade route from 20 yards out to make it 14-10.
The house of horrors that would ensue following that for the Cyclones was surprising to all involved, though.
"I didn't really see us unravel; I saw us lose energy and I'm trying to figure out why," Rhoads said. "They got a couple of scores to go ahead 24-14 and we just didn't play with the energy to stop them the rest of the first half."
Cornerback Jeremy Reeves was a somewhat of a loss for words when asked about the second quarter issues.
"We have been working really hard the pass couple of weeks," Reeves said. "To have things fall off like that in the second quarter was shocking."
Utah held the ball for over two-thirds of the second quarter and for 10 minutes more over the case of the game, running up 280 yards in that quarter alone. Iowa State had just three first downs on one series that ended in a missed field goal and went three-and-out four times, turning the ball over once as well.
"I told the guys we can't panic because if you do that you can really make things worse," Rhoads said. "We have to find answers to where this thing went south."
Utah continued to pour it on with 27 more second-half points, seven on which came just one play after one of Iowa State's two second-half touchdowns. The Cyclones had gone 65 yards in four plays, the last 36 of which came on an Arnaud touchdown pass to Collin Franklin. Reggie Dunn, however, took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to paydirt.
Redshirt freshman backup quarterback James Capello did lead a fourth-quarter scoring drive that he capped with a 19-yard run.
"We can just sweep this game under the carpet, though," Rhoads said. "We have to learn from it and these kids understand that."