OWH article: Cyclones disregard Huskers' struggles
Some good quotes and good focus on how Chizik wants to improve off last week. I'm guessing this article is going to be a lot better than anything the rag will have about the nebr game.....
Omaha.com Sports Section
Published Tuesday | September 25, 2007
Iowa State Football: Cyclones disregard Huskers' struggles
BY STEVEN PIVOVAR
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITER
AMES, Iowa — One might think that Ball State's near miss against Nebraska might provide Iowa State with some added inspiration as it prepares for a Saturday visit to a stadium where it hasn't won since 1977.
Seeing the Cardinals pile up 610 yards in losing 41-40 does not change ISU's outlook for the meeting with No. 22 and 25 Nebraska, Cyclones coach Gene Chizik and some of his players indicated Monday.
"Even if Ball State would have gotten beat by 100, we would still be optimistic about our chances of getting a win on Saturday," Iowa State cornerback Allen Bell said. "We feel like we can play with anybody."
The Cyclones will get an opportunity to see if they can hang with a Husker team that didn't see its win over a middle-of-the-pack team from the Mid-American Conference assured until the Cardinals missed a field goal on the final play of the game.
Ball State is from the same conference as two of the three teams that have beaten the Cyclones this season. Kent State handed Iowa State a 23-14 loss in the season opener, while Toledo rallied from an 11-point deficit in the final 5½ minutes last Saturday to post a 36-35 victory.
Iowa State also has lost to Northern Iowa, a Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) team, while notching its only win by kicking five field goals in a 15-13 victory over Iowa.
At 1-3, Iowa State is a 22-point underdog heading into Saturday's 1 p.m. game at Memorial Stadium. The Cyclones haven't won in Lincoln since a 24-21 triumph in 1977.
Then again, Ball State has never beaten a team from a BCS conference — but it came close last Saturday.
"To me, that's college football," Chizik said, dismissing any effect last week's game might have on this week's contest. "Does that particular game give me any extra hope? I think it's just something that can happen any day or any week to anybody. I'm not sure if Ball State is great or if Ball State is not very good.
"I just know that any week you better come to play, because anything can happen."
Chizik naturally is more concerned about shoring up some of the deficiencies, especially on special teams, that turned victory into disappointing defeat against Toledo. The Cyclones had taken a 35-24 lead when J.J. Bass scored on a 10-yard run with 5:25 to play.
Jalen Parmele returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards, breaking several tackles, to pull the Rockets within 35-30. Four plays later, Iowa State punter Mike Brandtner couldn't handle a low snap, with Greg Hay recovering the loose ball in the end zone to put the Rockets ahead 36-35 with 3:22 remaining.
Iowa State quarterback Bret Meyer drove his team to the Toledo 21-yard line with 11 seconds left. Hay contributed another big play, getting a hand on Bret Culbertson's 38-yard field-goal attempt to seal the Cyclones' defeat.
The late meltdown disappointed Chizik, who said he sensed that his team started playing not to lose instead of to win after it took the 11-point lead.
"We stress to our guys not to look at the scoreboard and to keep playing at the same tempo as they were," Chizik said. "We need to continue playing every play to get better and to produce. We need to keep pressing those issues.
"I look at that kickoff coverage and we had guys in position, but they weren't as physical as we'd like. When you're in the right position, you have to be confident enough to make those plays. When we showed the film to the team, they could see it. Now, we just have to keep pounding it in until it gets done."
If the Cyclones want to get things done against Nebraska, linebacker Alvin Bowen said, they must avoid the lapses that have cost them through the season's first four games.
"If you look at our first four games, we're close to being a good team," said Bowen, who leads the Cyclones with 32 tackles. "We're making mistakes that are killing us. We all need to start going out and making more plays. This is not high school anymore. It's not junior college.
"On this level, you have to produce. That's the bottom line. It's like Coach tells us all the time — the game hasn't changed in a 100 years. It's all about tackling the man with the ball. It's that simple."
Bowen figures that both teams will ratchet up the intensity on Saturday as Big 12 play begins.
"That's not to say what's happened in the first four games doesn't matter," he said. "But they're going to be zoned in, just as we are, to get this first Big 12 win. What happened against Ball State isn't going to matter. This is the same old Nebraska as far as we're concerned."
Re: OWH article: Cyclones disregard Huskers' struggles
Actually, if we made as few mistakes as last year (-5 in turnovers this year as compared to last year and have more penalties than last year), we could have been 4-0. Last year we won by the skinny skin skin; this year we lose by 10 or less. Special Teams need to play much much better against nebraska. They are hurting the total effort at key points in the game.
Looking forward to CFH magic for the next bball season, Georges style.