Can a loss feel like a win? Here at the Landgrant Gauntlet, we have touted Iowa State as being improved. That was evident on Saturday. Iowa defeated Iowa State 42-3 in Iowa City in 2016, but it took overtime and some extraordinary effort by the Hawkeyers to get it done this year.
The Cyclones started strong with an early touchdown drive thanks to sharp passing from Jacob Park. The defense was aggressive and benefited from strong play on the interior by Vernell Trent and Ray Lima.
Iowa established a lead after completing a 92 and 93 yard drive. Iowa’s offense was fueled by Akram Wadley and a potent underneath passing game to their tight ends. Iowa took a 14-10 lead in to halftime as Iowa State stagnated offensively in the second half.
The drama started in the second half as Iowa State scored 21 unanswered in response to an early start . David Montgomery, Iowa State’s soon to be star running back, willed the offense with an adjusted outside running game. Park started to look to the seam for Hakeem Butler and Marchie Murdock. Game on.
The fourth quarter was epic. End game coaching decisions galore. Iowa stormed back with a solid TD drive to pull within 3. Then, an Iowa interception by a defensive lineman inside the 10. ISU holds and the game is tied.
Hello Hakeem Butler. On the second play of the following drive, ISU hits a 70 yard bomb to wide open Hakeem Butler to take the lead. Party in Ames.
Not so fast. Akrum Wadley makes one of the most inspired runs you will ever see through a backed off ISU defense to tie the game.
In overtime, The Cyclones had a chance to score on a back shoulder throw to Lazard, but failed and settled for a field goal. Iowa did its thing and put it away with an overtime touchdown.
Ultimately, this game could not have been more evenly matched. Iowa State was every bit the match of Iowa in effort, talent and coaching. While the Clones came up short in the end, the improvement in the squad is tangible. Iowa State will not be an easy out.
|3rd Down Eff||7-15||4-14|
|4th Down Eff||0-0||2-2|
|Yards Per Pass||8.1||7.5|
|Yards Per Rush||4.0||4.6|
|IOWA – N. Stanley||27/41||333||8.1||5||0||86.9|
|ISU – J. Park||25/46||347||7.5||4||1||67.5|
|IOWA – A. Wadley||28||118||4.2||1||35|
|ISU – D. Montgomery||20||112||5.6||1||36|
|IOWA – A. Wadley||4||72||18.0||1||46|
|ISU – H. Butler||5||128||25.6||2||74|
Emptying the Notebook
Jacob Park thew for 347 yards and four touchdowns against high level defensive competition. That won’t be his last game with those type of numbers. However, Iowa State had 7 drops in the game. Some of them were very TCU 2016 like. If that is corrected, then ISU will not only be competitive, but will win a fair number of Big 12 games.
David Montgomery is a pure beast. He has as solid of a lateral game as Justice Hill and is one of the most powerful and determined running backs I have ever seen. See his TD run against Iowa. It wasn’t second effort, it was third, and it wasn’t second tier, it was first. He is the catalyst for the Iowa State attack and their improvement has a lot to do with his attitude and toughness. Though unknown, he is in the top tier of running back talent nationwide. If you don’t believe me, check out this game.
The ISU defense continues to struggle to contain the outside run game, but Iowa, a vaunted running team, could get nothing in the middle. I mean nothing. The new additions to the interior defensive line for Iowa State are legit — Ray Lima and Vernell Trent. When Kamilo Tongomoa gets up to speed, ISU will have a top tier defensive interior. That is important because it is a tradition weakness of the program.
Park got a little rattled in this game, but came back strong in crunch time. Impressive development from the stong-armed quarterback.
Overall, Iowa State went toe-to-toe with a Power 5 opponent in a big game for both programs. That represents significant progress and ISU should be a competitive team in Big 12 play.