Cyclones made ‘mincemeat’ of in Columbia


ISU quarterback Steele Jantz stretches to try and recover a fumble during the first half of the Cyclones’ 52-17 loss to Missouri on Saturday, Oct. 15. Jantz fumbled twice in the ISU loss.

Jeremiah Davis

COLUMBIA, Mo. — The ISU football team headed to Columbia, Mo., with every intention of righting the ship coming off two straight losses to Texas and Baylor.

Instead, the Cyclones (3-3, 0-3 Big 12) left Faurot Field more dejected than ever, with coaches and players who were visibly frustrated after a 52-17 loss to Missouri.

“One of my biggest fears was that [Missouri] was going to jel as an offense after not doing it [in previous games],” said coach Paul Rhoads after the game. “They were a dangerous football team waiting to explode as an offense and they did that, capitalizing on two turnovers. They did it twice with long fields, they did it twice with short fields and made mincemeat out of our defensive football team.”

For the second straight week, the Cyclone defense was gashed in the run game. The unit allowed more than 200 yards on the ground once again, giving up 294 yards to Missouri (3-3, 1-2) a week after surrendering 395 to Baylor.

Linebacker Jake Knott, who said he hasn’t practiced for two weeks because coaches are looking out for the health of his shoulder, said he flat out didn’t play well and that the defense needs to regroup in a hurry.

“MU had a great game plan for us,” Knott said. “They found a way to exploit every weakness that we had and they did it really, really well.

“As long as we can [get our minds right] and everybody stays mentally focused and stays on the right track, we’ll be fine. We’ve just got to go back and fix everything.”

Missouri had little trouble getting things going on offense, scoring quickly on an eight-play, 50-yard drive that took 3:02 and didn’t see any throws. Running back Henry Josey led the way for Missouri, carrying the ball 19 times for 134 yards and a touchdown.

The Cyclones also were exploited through the air, despite intercepting two James Franklin passes and having A.J. Klein return one for a touchdown — the third of his career, tied for the most in ISU history.

Franklin went 20-of-28 for 289 yards and three touchdowns, finding one of the nation’s best tight ends in Michael Egnew six times for 105 yards and a score.

Rhoads talked after the game about the defense’s strategy. The Cyclones went primarily with a 3-2-6 defense to start the game, a strategy that worked well for the team in last year’s 14-0 loss to the Tigers.

When Missouri showed the Cyclones it had the defense figured out, Rhoads’ staff tried to make adjustments.

“I cautioned our defensive staff that they would have answers to that, so we of course had answers of our own when they showed what those things were,” Rhoads said. “Great credit to Missouri’s offensive staff and their plan and their kids and their execution.”

The Cyclones also saw more of the same from the offensive side of the ball. Quarterback Steele Jantz kept his streak alive of having a turnover in each game, fumbling twice against Missouri before coming out of the game at the end of the third quarter.

“Bottom line, we’ve got to do a better job, speaking for the offense,” Jantz said. “I think our first goal is just [to] practice better because I think we can improve in that area.”

Jantz was relieved in favor of redshirt freshman Jared Barnett after going 17-of-32 for 161 yards and two fumbles. Barnett, who threw an interception on his first collegiate pass, said he “didn’t play very good,” but that he felt more and more comfortable as the quarter went on.

Some may wonder now if there’s a quarterback controversy rebrewing within the Cyclone locker room. But to ask Rhoads, there’s nothing to be read into about Barnett replacing Jantz.

“We were a good bit behind and Steele hadn’t led a touchdown drive yet,” Rhoads said. “So I didn’t think I’d consult with [the media], I just thought I’d make the decision myself and put Jared Barnett out there and see what he could do with our offensive football team.

“We’re certainly going to examine the play of our quarterbacks and make a decision moving forward. You’ll see at kickoff [against Texas A&M] who goes out with us. I’m not saying it’s a competition, I’m not saying Steele won’t start, but don’t bother asking me during the week.”