Game Breakers

After reflecting on the Cyclone's 23 – 3 victory over the Hawkeye's, there are many players and facets of the big game that stand out.

Turnovers

The team that wins the turnover battle is often on the victorious sideline. Saturday was no different, as Iowa State caused 5 Iowa turnovers, while only giving up the ball once, on a tipped interception.

 

All 23 points the Cyclones scored were after Hawkeye miscues, including LaMarcus Hicks' 28 yard interception to put the Cyclones up 16 – 0 late in the 2nd quarter. Hicks also recovered a fumble.

 

The Cyclones also benefited on the first score of the game when Brian Ferentz snapped over the head of Drew Tate on a shotgun snap. Jason Berryman battled Tate and Albert Young to recover the fumble at the 12.

 

Two plays later, Bret Meyer connected with Austin Flynn on a slant for his first touchdown as a receiver.

 

The Offensive Line

Iowa State came into the contest with question marks about the toughness of the O-Line after Stevie Hicks managed less than 100 yards rushing against 1-AA Illinois State.

 

Hicks only had 53 yards on 19 carries for less than 3 yards per carry through 3 quarters. Hicks took over when it counted. He ended the 3rd quarter with a 12 yard run and followed it at the start of the 4th with consecutive runs of 13, 12, 7 and 6- all straight up the gut. Hicks finished with 122 yards at 4.2 per carry.

 

Matt McGettigan

The strength and conditioning coach at ISU earned his keep Saturday. Iowa State appeared to be stronger and more physical as the game wore on, while Iowa wilted in the heat. While both teams tallied 3 sacks each, Iowa State had 6 quarterback hurries compared to Iowa's 1. Both Tate and replacement Jason Manson rarely had enough time to pick out their secondary receiver.

 

Drew Tate

It is a shame he suffered a concussion as he tackled Steve Paris after an overthrow interception. Tate was the Big Ten 1st team quarterback last year and I would have liked to see how he fared playing all 4 quarters.

 

In the full quarter Tate did play, he was erratic, misfiring on a few wide open receivers. Down by 6 late in the 1st quarter, Tate overthrew a wide open crossing Clinton Solomon that would have been at least a big gain to the Cyclone 30 – if not a touchdown. Tate's stats for the day- 5 -11 for 57 yards with one pick. He was also sacked once.

 

Bret Meyer

It wasn't an All-Big 12 Honors day for the sophomore, but he was efficient. He had a shaky series early when he overshot both Austin Flynn and Todd Blythe for would be touchdowns. After that he was solid. Moving the chains when needed, which helped Iowa State control the clock with over 12 more minutes in time of possession. For the afternoon, Meyer's stat line was 14-of-24 for 154 yards and a touchdown. He also threw one interception.

 

Albert Young

After 3 carries, Young had totaled 70 yards. After the early defensive breakdowns, Iowa State stiffened on the ground game as he netted only another 70 for the remaining 3 and a half quarters. Iowa State didn't shut him down, but they did contain him. Especially in the 2nd when with Tate on the sideline, Iowa looked for Young to carry the load - but he could only muster 16 yards on 5 carries.

 

The best defense is offense

In the middle of the 2nd quarter, while clinging to the 6 – 0 lead, Iowa State took off 5 minutes off the clock- against the wind- to set up for a Tony Yelk field goal of 29 yards. They did the same thing in the 3rd quarter. Starting at their own 22, Iowa State drove 59 yards and milked nearly 6 minutes from the clock- again going against the stiff breeze. Although Yelk missed the field goal, the Iowa defense was out on the field in the heat for a long frustrating time, helping lead to their inability to control the ISU O-Line as Hicks and Greg Coleman ran free in the 4th.

 

Special Teams

Although we all winced when Yelk thumped the left post on his first extra point, special team play was solid in punting and kickoffs. One of the big turning points was early in the 3rd after Kyle Schlicher had just made a 44 yard field goal to get Iowa on the board. Iowa State had a weak three and out and the worry set in for Cyclone fans.

 

Troy Blankenship eased our minds by crushing a low line drive spiral that landed 20 yards over return man Ed Hinkel - a 68 yard punt into 25 mph winds. Iowa was also called for a holding penalty on the play. Instead of starting field position at possibly mid field, Iowa began at their own 3.

 

Tony Yelk again shined on kickoffs, either burying it through the end zone for a touchback or floating it deep where Iowa started behind the 20, even against the wind. Iowa only mustered 35 yards on combined punt and kick returns. Hawkeye fans might try to brag about them winning the return yardage by 9 yards, but they need a reminder that it is simply because Iowa only had to kick off twice. Not to mention ISU's 46 yards in interception returns.


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