After waiting for months, we finally got to see some Big 12 football in action on Saturday. However, as an Iowa State fan, it wasn’t a very fun or enjoyable experience to watch. In fact, it was a downright crushing experience to watch your team get boat raced at home by a Sun Belt team.
Don’t forget this was a team in Louisiana-Lafayette that has NEVER in program history defeated a ranked Power 5 school on the road. But, the Ragin’ Cajuns more than doubled up the Cyclones on Saturday, and the 2020 season starts off on a sour note.
Now, we as fans have two weeks to sit on this loss and hypothesize and diagnose what went wrong. It will be a dumpster fire for some of the fan base, and trust the process in other talking circles.
I’m somewhere in the middle of these sentiments. As a fan and lover of football, I will have to choose at some point which it is in my mind. But I cannot after just one game.
Brock Purdy looked rusty, timing and accuracy seemed off and this can be expected as many teams shook rust off for the first time taking the field. I’ll trust the process and believe he will be much sharper than what we saw last Saturday.
Yet, watching the game it was clear Iowa State has no number one receiver to take the reigns. In Matt Campbell’s first two years, he had Allen Lazard. His third year, the freak Hakeem Butler was the star wide out. Last year, he had a compliment of Deshaunte Jones and Arkansas transfer LeMichael Pettway to find open spaces and make receptions.
Yes, All American TE Charlie Kolar did not play Saturday due to a “lower body injury”, but the Cyclones receivers failed to get any separation throughout the game against the Ragin’ Cajuns defensive backs. If this continues, I’m squeezing lighter fluid in the dumpster and fishing in my pocket for matches.
The wide receivers were the question mark for the offense coming into the season, although the assurances of depth and skill made many of us fans believe this unit could be all around better this year than previous years.
For that, I’ll wait and see.
Special teams for the Cyclones gave up two touchdowns Saturday. This I am willing to believe is a correctable situation for Matt Campbell and his coaching staff. They have two weeks to breakdown and rebuild the special teams and for this…I’ll trust the process.
Much like the wide receivers, the offensive line was a point of concern coming into 2020. Losing four starters in the trenches would make any fan nervous.
The unit looked pretty good for the first half of the game, running the ball and pass blocking. In fact, I was impressed with their running game in the first half altogether.
Then, Trevor Downing, the experienced guard, went down with a foot injury. The line didn’t have the same feel after that. Brock Purdy had less time to diagnose and throw.
Running backs began to get caught and blown up in the backfield. It was the tale of two lines in a single game.
If Downing can heal, depending on the injury – I will be less concerned about the second half performance and will trust the process.
If Downing’s injury becomes a long-term issue – I will begin wadding up my hopes and dreams into tiny little kindling and shoving them under the dumpsters lid.
I know, all of this is a knee-jerk reaction to just a single game played. After all, Matt Campbell’s teams have NEVER came out of the gate very well.
Last year, with no COVID-19 issues, in a packed Jack Trice stadium, his team struggled to beat an FCS team with a brand new freshman quarterback. It took them a few overtime’s and some Brock Purdy heroics to beat Northern Iowa.
I think overall I will trust the process and believe this bad game was just that, a bad game. I still believe this Iowa State team has tremendous upside and is still in contention for the Big 12 title game in Arlington.
Matt Campbell has shown in his previous 4 seasons that he really doesn’t put much emphasis on non-conference games. They build to October when they begin to congeal and peak as a team.
Only the next game against TCU will tell us more. Will we roll out the 2020 dumpster or trust the process for the next few weeks? Luckily, this decision doesn’t have to be made just yet.
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