Williams: Impossible pill to swallow
I was not surprised to wake up on Friday morning to intense lightning, earsplitting thunder and heavy rain in central Iowa. The football gods are furious about what went down in Ames last night.
Sure, Iowa State had its chances. Put one in the endzone on that second-to-last possession and the Cyclones were sure-thing winners. Pick off one of those lazy Case McCoy passes. Don’t give up the Hail Mary at the end of the first half for crying out loud. But you can say things like that about any game on any week. Every team can.
Paul Rhoads said a lot after Iowa State’s 31-30 loss to the Texas Longhorns but nothing more fitting (and true) than when he called the outcome of the game a “shame and tragedy” in a Cyclone Radio Network interview with Eric Heft.
Rhoads was referring to the fight that is football team put forth on the field. The same football team that was for lack of a better term, hapless, in week’s one and two in losses to UNI and Iowa, was full of all sorts of piss and vinegar in front of a prime time ESPN audience.
If you read this website often, you know that I am generally the last guy (other than my partner Brent Blum) to break out the pitchforks in regards to officiating. You cannot control officials. Bad calls are part of the game.
But at the same time, these 'professionals' need to be held accountable when they are clearly dead wrong. I’ll write this the most tactful way that I can: From not ejecting Texas wide receiver Mike Davis on what was perhaps the dirtiest play you’ll see in football all season to vintage Longhorn no-calls (Texas A&M's old AD even commented on this after the game) to the 'not-a-fumble' that caused a stir, the Cyclones got screwed.
Again (poor Fred Hoiberg).
Paul Rhoads made his presence felt after the game and rightfully so. It is perhaps the largest story in the sports today.
Rhoads is going to get fined for what he said. Coincidentally, I suspect that fine will come down on the same day that the Big 12 issues its standard apology letter to Iowa State.
Aaron Wimberly – The junior recorded his second straight 100-plus yard performance. Against the Longhorns, the JuCo transfer racked up 117 yards on 29 carries while running for a touchdown and receiving another. The thing about a handful of Wimberly’s runs was that really, he had no room. Wimberly created many of those 117 yards. It’s been a while, probably since the glory McCarney years, since Iowa State has had a guy like that at running back.
Paul Rhoads – For standing up for his team in what was a poignant post game press conference. Rhoads was as raw as a fresh-caught trout after Iowa State’s loss and you’ll hear plenty about it in the coming days I assume. Whatever he is fined though will likely be worth it as based off of what I’m told, a handful of recruits were in the house on Thursday night. After watching that game, that press conference, and everything in between, how could you not want to play for that guy?
Cole Netten – I don’t want to jinx the young man, but it appears that maybe, just maybe, Iowa State finally has a kicker. Netten, a redshirt freshman out of Ankeny, was 3-for-3 on kicks from 37, 41 and 29 yards Thursday night.
The box score – Top to bottom, Iowa State beat Texas on it. The Cyclones recorded 463 yards on 77 plays compared to 363 by Texas on 74. Iowa State possessed the football for nearly 10 more minutes than the Longhorns. The Cyclones were 10-for-20 on third down. Officiating aside, those through the fingertip interceptions and penalties were the difference in a big win and a gut wrenching loss.
Just punch it in – It should have never been a game that the officials could decide. Up three, Iowa State had the football on Texas’ 4-yard line with under five minutes to play. It was 2nd and 1. In what at the time seemed like a near sure thing (the offense was rolling) the Cyclones lost two on second down, threw and incomplete pass on third and settled for three.
With having the advantage of hindsight, why not just give Jeff Woody (or Wimberly for that matter) two chances right there? The absolute worst-case scenario would been Texas football, up three with 97-yards to go in less than three minutes.
Again, hindsight is a fickle mistress. But Iowa State could have won the game right there but failed to execute.
Penalties – A few of them were bogus. Lots of them were legit. Iowa State, who was the Big 12’s least penalized team heading into the game, committed 10 of them for 118 yards on Thursday night. The Cyclones had only committed 10 penalties in the entire season leading up to this one.
*** Sam Richardson accounted for 345 yards of total offense, a career-high. No. 12 finally looked mobile again while completing 62 percent of his passes. He might only be 1-5 as a starter, but I'm confident that Iowa State has found itself a quarterback. If he can run, he's pretty good.
*** Quenton Bundrage's 97-yard touchdown in the third quarter was the longest pass play in Iowa State history. Bundrage is a different level of receiver than Iowa State has had since Todd Blythe. He now has four touchdowns on the season.
*** Combine the last two games and there might not be a more encouraging position group regarding the future than the defensive line. From Nick Kron to Mitchell Meyers to Cory Morrissey to David Irving to Rodney Coe, it's a group that has gotten better every single week and is showing some real promise for the future. Iowa State notably held Texas to 119 rushing yards on Thursday night.