Reese Strickland/USA Today

Quick Hits: Iowa 31, Iowa State 17

Iowa State watched its halftime lead go by the wayside in the second half as the offense disappeared and the defense wore down. Here are some quick hits on some of the key takeaways.

The Disappearing Offense

Iowa State’s offense appeared to be in OK shape through the first 30 minutes of on-field action Saturday before suddenly performing a disappearing act.

As Paul Rhoads said afterward, it was a tale of two halves.

Half

Plays

Passing Yards

Rushing Yards

Total Yards

First

31

186

58

244

Second

31

61

5

66

The Cyclones scored 17 points by halftime thanks to a strong performance from quarterback Sam Richardson (12-of-15 for 186 yards and two touchdowns) and a decent rushing attack (3.6 yards per carry).

How quickly things changed.

The Cyclones went three-and-out after two failed rushing attempts and a forced scramble to start the second half and things didn’t get much better. Iowa State tallied just 66 total yards in the second half (2.1 yards per play) as Richardson went 7-of-20 for 61 yards and the running game rushed 11 times for five yards.

“The first half we played awfully well in my opinion save a few plays,” coach Paul Rhoads said. “Second we didn’t and they played extremely well.”

Down Goes Tucker

Iowa State’s defense took a hit midway through the second quarter when JUCO defensive tackle Demond Tucker limped off the field. 

Tucker, who had two tackles, including one for a big loss, never returned, and his injury was disclosed as a sprained ankle afterward. Iowa State’s pressure in the middle appeared to be affected the remainder of the game, though Rhoads couldn’t judge the effect of the injury in the immediate aftermath Saturday.

“Did you lose one of our better players? Sure, but I don’t know how Vernell [Trent] and Bobby [Leath] played,” Rhoads said. “A lot of that offense was outside the tackles in the second half, so I can’t necessarily say that was a big issue. Hard for me to say without really looking at the tape.”

Tucker could potentially be ready to return next weekend against Toledo.

Transformed Defensive Line Impressing

When the 2014 season came to a close, Iowa State ranked near the bottom of college football in sacks after tallying just 15 in 12 games.

What difference a year makes.

The Cyclones recorded three sacks Saturday to bring their season total to nine through the season’s first two games. Iowa State defensive end Dale Pierson recorded two to up his season total to five after having two in 2014.

The key to the new pressure?

“Just speed,” Pierson said. “All of us out there are athletes. We don’t have a big slug out there. We’re all athletes, so I think that’s been the big difference for us.”


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