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Iowa State Uses Defense to Dispatch Northern Iowa

What a difference a year makes! The Cyclones blow by the Panthers in a solid effort led by the defense.

Getty Images - David Purdy

Iowa State squared off with the University of Northern Iowa Saturday night in front of a capacity crowd of 61,500.  Northern Iowa is a perennial (like for the last 25 years) FCS top 20 team that had defeated Iowa State in two of their last three contests. They are a fundamentally sound team with some FBS level talent.

UNI opened the game with a flawless 75 yard drive putting Iowa State in jeopardy early. The opening defensive series for UNI forced an Iowa State punt as they struggled to get space in the running game or break free in a conservative passing scheme.

However, as the offense continued to sputter, mustering only 11 offensive plays in the 1st quarter, the ISU defense played lights out. ISU generated two pick sixes deep in UNI’s territory to grab a lead they would not surrender. The defense played a pressure package and enjoyed solid play from its new look defensive line and linebacking corp.

As UNI stagnated on offense, Iowa State’s offense came alive behind the individual effort of running back David Montgomery. As Montgomery made room, the passing game began to find space.

In the second half, ISU put together three straight touchdown drives including an icing drive that spanned over eight minutes and covered 77 yards on 18 plays. Iowa State scored on four of five drives from the late second quarter to the fourth quarter while controlling the clock in a methodical manner.

A 42-24 final score and a decisive victory was just what the doctor ordered for an Iowa State squad seeking to take another step in its program development. The most encouraging sign was a defense that was improved up front and provided consistent pressure.


1st Downs 21 24
3rd Down Eff 3-11 7-15
4th Down Eff 0-0 2-2
Total Yards 378 405
Passing 259 271
Comp-Att 23-38 27-36
Yards Per Pass 6.8 7.5
Interceptions 3 1
Rushing 119 134
Rush Att 22 35
Yards Per Rush 5.4 3.8
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Penalties 8-71 7-74
Possession 29:04 30:56
UNI – E. Dunne 23/38 259 6.8 3 3
ISU – J. Park 27/35 271 7.7 2 1 74.4
UNI – T. Allen 12 87 7.3 0 28
ISU – D. Montgomery 14 82 5.9 2 17
UNI – I. Weston 4 72 18.0 1 26
ISU – A. Lazard 8 108 13.5 0 24

Emptying the Notebook

Iowa State struggled to run the ball consistently, which was a likely result of four new faces on the offensive line. However, the same line provided a clean pocket for Jacob Park for the entire game. Park had time in the pocket and played a conservative, but solid game from the quarterback position.

Allen Lazard, was, well, Allen Lazard. Sure handed and steady, he provides a comfort zone for Jacob Park and must be accounted for.

Hakeem Butler added seven catches, many of them in the seams and across the middle. Butler is 6’6 225 and provides a big target in the hook and curl zone for the Cyclones.

Joel Lanning played a solid game at middle linebacker and threw in a fourth down conversion late in the game to become Iowa State’s first two-way player in eons. There was some hesitation in his game, but he was aggressive and brought some much-needed improvement to the defense.

Jacob Park was methodical and played within himself. Iowa State played a very conservative game on offense and did not stretch the field vertically in the passing game. They were the only Big 12 team in week one that did not air it out and test the deep ball. Whether that is a sign of things to come, or just a game plan that paid homage to their in-state rivalry in week 2, time will tell.

Overall, a bland, but solid performance. It was the perfect start for Matt Campbell as a solid victory was achieved along side some growth points for the coming weeks.


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