Cyclone rush defense not enough to stop K-State


Daniel Jacobi II

WIll McDonald brings down Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez in 10-9 loss on Oct. 8.

AMES – The nation’s top backfield duo posted season-low rushing totals Saturday night in Jack Trice Stadium. But Iowa State’s offense couldn’t capitalize as the Cyclones dropped their third consecutive game.

Deuce Vaugh and Adrian Martinez of Kansas State entered Saturday night’s matchup with the most rushing yards of any quarterback-running back tandem in the country.

On Saturday night, they combined for a season-low 100 yards and no touchdowns while facing the Iowa State defense. The Cyclones, however, couldn’t translate stops into points and lost another Big 12 conference matchup.

Iowa State kicker Jace Gilbert converted three field goals, but the Cyclones lost by a final score of 10-9. The Iowa State offense did not find the endzone in the loss.

“We’re just not finishing drives,” Jirehl Brock said postgame. “As an offense, we got to be better because the defense is holding them.”

Brock, who was unavailable during Iowa State’s loss to Kansas a week ago, was not fully 100 percent, according to head coach Matt Campbell. He contributed 33 rushing yards out of Iowa State’s 78 total rushing yards. 

Iowa State gained 26 rushing yards last week against Kansas. The Cyclones have lost the rushing battle for the third consecutive week.

The Kansas State running back Vaughn was the Big 12’s leader in rushing yards per game prior to Saturday. In Kansas State’s wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma, Martinez became the third quarterback in 15 years with over 300 yards and seven touchdowns.

The pair demonstrated big play potential in Kansas State’s first four wins of the season. Vaughn and Martinez, in part, helped Kansas State move from unranked in the preseason to 20th in the nation as they traveled to Ames on Saturday. 

In Saturday’s matchup, Martinez finished with 77 yards on 19 attempts. Vaughn, who dealt with an injury in the fourth quarter, finished with 23 yards on 10 carries. 

Stopping the run was a high priority for Iowa State leading up to the matchup with Kansas State. But limiting Martinez and Vaughn wasn’t enough to claim victory. 

“You still see some ‘A’ players making ‘A’ plays,” Campbell said postgame. “But we are not as consistent as we need to be to win football games right now.”

With 5:37 to play in the fourth quarter, Kansas State led 10-9 but was pinned inside its own 10-yard line to start a drive. Kansas State leaned on its dual-threat quarterback, but Iowa State stopped Martinez in the backfield to force a three-and-out. 

The stop gave the Iowa State offense a chance with 3:24 to go and starting field position on its own 48-yard line. 

Iowa State moved the ball three yards on what became the final chance for Iowa State to put points on the board. 

While limited in the rushing attack, Martinez’s 246 passing yards were the most of the senior’s 2022 season. Martinez found Phillip Brooks for an 81-yard touchdown in the game’s first quarter. It was the longest pass of the season for Martinez and was the only touchdown of Saturday’s matchup. 

“It’s got to be better,” linebacker O’Rien Vance said. “Every aspect of the game, we have got to get better.”