Stuve: The road woes continue


Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell watches pregame warmups ahead of the Cyclones’ 59-7 win over Kansas on Oct. 2.

Sam Stuve

Add another road loss to the board.

With Saturday’s 28-21 loss to Oklahoma, Iowa State is going to finish the 2021 season with a 2-4 record in road games, which matches Iowa State’s worst road lost total in the Matt Campbell era (2016). 

With losses against Baylor, West Virginia and Texas Tech, it was the defense that struggled for at least a half and put Iowa State behind the eight ball.

But this time around, it was more so a lack of execution on the Iowa State offensive side of the ball. And it wasn’t like Iowa State got started off on the wrong foot early in this one either.

Iowa State scored on the first possession of the game, with running back Breece Hall punching it in from one yard out and tied the FBS record consecutive games with 23.

But on the next seven drives, Iowa State had four punts, a fumble by quarterback Brock Purdy that was returned for a touchdown to put Oklahoma up 14-7 at halftime, an interception and a turnover on downs.

The offense showed some signs of life late in third quarter and in the fourth quarter.

Hunter Dekkers came in after Purdy had to be evaluated for an injury, and he threw a 12-yard pass touchdown pass to tight end Chase Allen and they trailed 21-14.

Oklahoma scored on the next possession, but Purdy came back on the field and led a drive that once again cut the deficit back to seven. 

But it wasn’t enough, as Oklahoma won 28-21. 

While Iowa State’s offense did out-gain Oklahoma 361-305, the majority of those yards came when Iowa State was down by two scores, late in the third quarter and in the majority of the fourth quarter. 

After the 75 yard drive to open the game, Iowa State had just 84 yards of total offense for the rest of the first half and the third quarter combined. 

The two big reasons why the Iowa State struggled to move the ball for the majority of the game is because of the Oklahoma defensive line.

Oklahoma had seven sacks in this game.

The Iowa State offensive line struggled to contain the Oklahoma defensive line in multiple ways, whether Oklahoma was doing stunts upfront, blitzing or just rushing the quarterback with just the defensive linemen.

The Sooners’ defense also kept Iowa State’s running game in check, limiting the Cyclones to 51 yards and 1.5 yards per carry.

I know that sack yardage counts against a team’s rushing total in college, which is ludicrous to me, and Iowa State did gain 124 yards on rushing attempts, but nonetheless Iowa State had just 51 yards rushing.

And what was Iowa State’s play of the game?

A 29 yard rush on a fake punt by punter Andrew Mevis, at the start of the fourth quarter.

The Cyclones offense was able to have multiple plays in which they gained 20 plus yards gained, but as for the game-changing plays, it was this one that kicked off the Cyclones comeback attempt which came up short.

In this road defeat, Oklahoma’s defense simply had more big plays that were a touchdown or resulted in a change of possession in comparison to what Iowa State’s offense did. 

Whether it was the 42 yard fumble return by Jalen Redmond, the Oklahoma defense holding the Iowa State offense to 84 yards of total for two and a half quarters, stopping Iowa State three times with one yard to gain for a first down on it’s second drive of the third quarter, a interception thrown by Dekkers, or the game-sealing interception by Purdy on the final play of the game for the Iowa State offense, Oklahoma’s defense made the plays it needed to, which helped it improve to 10-1 (7-1 Big 12) and drop Iowa State to 6-5 (4-4 Big 12)

Yes, Iowa State did have some big chunk plays to put itself in possession to score, but I think that Oklahoma simply had more big, game-changing plays to counteract what the Iowa State offense was doing. 

Coming into this game, Iowa State still had a slim chance of making it back to the Big 12 Championship if it could win this and beat TCU next week, but with defeat now that is clearly off the table. 

These big plays by the Oklahoma defense, mishaps by the Iowa State offense, or whatever you would like to call it, helped drop Iowa State to 2-4 on the road this season.

With this road loss, Iowa State has dropped three road games in a row for the first time since 2016.