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Iowa State Knocks Off TCU For Second Top Five Win

Iowa State’s dream season just keeps getting better.



David Purdy/Getty Images

Iowa State now has three wins against teams ranked in the top five in the nation in their history. Two of those have come in the month of October 2017.

Iowa State’s improbable run has fueled by a style of play that forces teams to play flawless games, both in execution and play calling in order to achieve an advantage. Turnovers and penalties are drive killers against their opportunistic defense. TCU felt the wrath of both, as opportunities to establish dominance in the game were lost to undisciplined play.

The first half was dominated by Iowa State. ISU used their size advantage at wide receiver to stress the TCU defense vertically while stubbornly keeping the defense honest with the threat of David Montgomery’s running. TCU found some yards running the ball to the edge against Iowa State’s three man front, but penalties killed too many drives. Iowa State was able to stretch the lead to 14-0.

The second half opened in promising fashion for TCU, as Kevontae Turpin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. In addition, TCU penetrated inside the 10 yard line twice utilizing their edge run and poor tackling on the part of Iowa State. However, a poorly thrown ball was intercepted, and timely pressure created a fumble for ISU to turn the tide.

TCU made second half adjustments by moving to a man-to-man coverage scheme that frustrated Iowa State’s offensive effort. They relied on a heavy dose of effective edge rushing that moved the ball on the Iowa State defense, but inexplicably abandoned it inside the 10.

Iowa State played field position and took advantage of a plethora of TCU mistakes. Eleven penalties for 104 negative yards. Crucial holding penalties put TCU behind the sticks the entire game. TCU would have tied the game on a pick six, but it was a free play pick six due to an offsides penalty.

Iowa State plays a style that requires a team to execute at a high level of efficiency in order to gain an advantage on them. Their last five opponents have been unable to play efficiently enough, and, on Saturday, Iowa State was able to overcome its own offensive deficiencies and get clear of the Horned Frogs.


1st Downs 14 17
3rd Down Eff 4-14 3-13
4th Down Eff 0-0 0-0
Total Yards 307 255
Passing 135 202
Comp-Att 12-25 21-35
Yards Per Pass 5.4 5.8
Interceptions 2 1
Rushing 172 53
Rush Att 34 33
Yards Per Rush 5.1 1.6
Fumbles Lost 1 0
Penalties 11-104 4-35
Possession 27:39 32:21
TCU – K. Hill 12/25 135 5.1 0 2 7.4
ISU – C. Brewer 21/35 202 5.8 2 1 49.3
TCU – D. Anderson 12 95 7.9 0 28
ISU – D. Montgomery 25 74 3.0 0 15
TCU – J. Austin 3 39 13.0 0 20
ISU – A. Lazard 6 106 17.7 0 30


Penalties can be a product of a lack of instilled discipline, a bad day, or a team trying to level the playing field and getting caught. TCU was called for holding five times. Each erased solid gains and put them behind the chains. A couple of those calls were questionable, but most were the result of TCU trying to contain Iowa State’s interior defensive lineman.

Iowa State’s defensive anchor, Ray Lima, sat out a large portion of the game due to back spasms, but Jamahl Johnson and Vernell Trent were capable replacements whose pressure forced a number of the holding penalties. TCU hurt themselves with the penalties, but Iowa State had a hand in creating the negative plays by their abilities in the trenches.

Iowa State could not run the ball, threw an interception deep in their own territory, gave up a special teams touchdown, amassed just over 50 yards on offense in the second half, gave up 5.1 yards per carry while amassing only 1.6 yards per carry, missed a field goal, and gave up two sacks. That is not a formula for winning against a top-ranked team.

What Iowa State did do was take advantage of the mistakes by TCU and stiffened when it was most crucial to do so. Good teams do that and it is a formula that wins football games. The effort and resilience is not common in Iowa State football history, but it is reality as the calendar turns to November.

Resilience by Iowa State and mistakes by TCU created a highly competitive game and 4-way tie for first place in the Big 12. November should be fun.

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