Gamebreakers

Thoughts on the Cyclones 27-20 loss in Lincoln.

So Cyclone Nation, what word did you exclaim as Bret Meyers last pass fell incomplete (and when you saw the replay of a possible interference on Blythe)?

 

Did you say "rats"? Perhaps "dog gone it anyways". Some Clone fans who had been snacking most of the day yelled "nuts".

 

Myself, at the end of the second overtime, I muttered *!@# to a lost opportunity.

 

Despite coming up short at the end on the scoreboard, it was a hell of a game. But Iowa State lost 27-20.

 

How many seasons in the past would Cyclone fans brag about taking the Big Red into overtime, especially at Memorial Stadium? The fans would have boasted nearly every year in the past 28, except there wasn't an opportunity.

 

Saturday October 1, 2005 is not a moral victory, it is a disappointment. Iowa State had their chances to win today more than once. This Cyclone fan isn't convinced that the Cornhuskers have better players like we witnessed in previous decades.

 

Give them credit. Nebraska made the plays when they needed to. Iowa State missed too many opportunities.

 

In the week building up the hype, many members of the media tossed out their keys to victory. Three of them turned out to be interesting facets of the game.

 

Ground game

 

Before the game we all pondered whether Iowa State could stop Big 12 rushing leader Cory Ross. Many believed if Iowa State could gain more yards on the ground we'd certainly win.

 

It turned out to be a non factor. Ross only had 32 yards rushing, but it was his pass receptions out of the back field, including a 70-yard screen pass and the winning TD that gave the edge.

 

Greg Coleman ran tough throughout the day and the ISU staff used him particularly well in the second half with draw plays – including the 10-yard scamper to give ISU the brief lead in the first overtime. Coleman finished with 65 yards for the afternoon.

 

How much change would you have won in Vegas two years ago if you bet the running backs in a NebraskaIowa State game would rush for less than 100 yards combined?

 

Turnovers

 

Both teams came in feeding the offense with turnovers. Each team had a big one, but it was surprised there weren't more from these aggressive defenses.

 

Nebraska capitalized early in the second half with an interception after Iowa State took the opening kick down the field- helped by a long catch and run by freshman R.J. Sumrall. The Cornhuskers drove down the field for the first touchdown of the game and a short lived 10-3 lead.

 

DeAndre Jackson made the defensive play of the game with less than two minutes to go in the game. As the Cornhuskers attempted to position for a late field goal, QB Zac Taylor scrambled to the right after a broken play. Jackson not only tackled Taylor for a loss and ripped out the ball, but DeAndre recovered the loose pig skin giving Iowa State a new chance at a victory. (If he would have scooped it up clean, could he have gone to the house?)

 

Bret Meyer vs. Zac Taylor

 

Both played very well. Taylor had the advantage in passing yards, throwing for a Nebraska school record 431 yards. Meyer had his second straight 300 plus game against the Huskers.

 

Nebraska's O-line and Cory Ross did a much better job of protecting the QB than Iowa State. When the Clones were able to put the pressure on Taylor, he threw up some ghosts. But none were picked.

 

The one that got away is what is gnawing Nick Leaders on the bus ride home. The Nebraska native read a screen pass on the first play of over time and nearly intercepted-which would have ended the game the with the Cyclones on top of the scoreboard.

 

So where do we go from here?

 

Although it feels like it, it's not the end of the opportunity for a special season for the Cyclones. It's the first conference game and it was at the toughest venue in the Big 12.

 

The rest of the season will be determined the next three Saturdays. With Baylor and Oklahoma State sandwiched around a trip to Missouri, the opportunity is there.

 

All three are winnable games, assuming the team that played smash mouth football against Iowa and held it's own at Nebraska shows up with that focus and desire.

 

A six and one record going down to Texas A&M in late October is an achievable goal. Let's hope the Cyclone players and coaches make it happen.


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