‘Grow with a loss’: Iowa State’s miscues, looking toward future


Jacob Rice

Cyclone Dimitri Stanley pushes through a Kansas tackle on Oct. 1

The Cyclones are returning from Lawrence, Kansas, with much to work on following the 14-11 loss to the Jayhawks.

Although the Cyclones played hard for the entire 60 minutes, a few special teams mistakes kept them from securing the win. Iowa State is 0-2 to start its Big 12 schedule and has a tough matchup ahead with Kansas State.

Iowa State’s defense kept the game within reach, but the special teams could not close the gap in the final minutes. With a fourth-and-1 play looming, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell had a choice to make.

Should the Cyclones go for it on fourth down, with just one yard to gain?

The offense played well in the second half, but not getting the yard would spell the end of the game for the Cyclones.

Or should freshman kicker Jace Gilbert get a chance to redeem himself by sending the game into overtime?

Earlier in the game, Gilbert doinked two field goal attempts off the upright.

“At the end of the day, you’re always going to say, man, was that the right call or not, especially when it doesn’t go good,” Campbell said. “My gut said, win the game in overtime — you’re playing great defense — and put yourself in the best position to win the game.”

Campbell put his faith in Gilbert’s leg. Unfortunately, for the third time that day, Gilbert missed. His kick went wide left, and Iowa State lost the game.

Although it’s easy to look at the three missed kicks and put the blame on Gilbert, there were mistakes all around the field for the Cyclones. Quarterback Hunter Dekkers threw two interceptions in critical situations, and the special teams had miscues all day.

Earlier in the game, linebacker Beau Freyler mistimed his tackle on a Jayhawks punt returner and drew a penalty, giving Kansas a great field position. Even Jaylin Noel muffed a punt, turning the ball over late in the game.

“I hated that some of those things came down to some young guys,” Campbell said.

Growing pains are to be expected with how young this Cyclones team is. New starters on the offense and special teams mean blunders are bound to happen.

One shining light in the loss was how airtight the veteran-riddled defense played. Iowa State only allowed 14 points to a hot Jayhawks team. After five games, the Cyclones are proving why they have the best defense in the Big 12.

When the young players struggled, the seniors stepped up and made plays when it mattered. Campbell praised the leadership and poise the defense showed.

“That’s what’s gut-wrenching about today; you got some vets, our top dogs are doing everything that they can to continue to help this young team in a lot of ways to move itself forward,” Campbell said.

It’s tough for the veteran players to play as well as they did and still leave Lawrence with a loss. However, if they can continue putting the team in a good spot to win, the Cyclones should still see success.

With how close the last two losses were, the Cyclones proved that they could hang with anyone in the Big 12. Gilbert played well against Baylor and has been good in practice. One bad game shouldn’t define his young career.

Campbell had faith in Gilbert going into the game — which is why he gave him a shot to tie up the game at the end — and Campbell said he still has faith in Gilbert going forward.

“You got to keep going forward,” Campbell said. “I think we’ll only continue to grow from this; it sucks that you got to grow with a loss.”