Offensive woes plague Cyclones in fifth-straight loss


Jacob Rice

Defensive lineman MJ Anderson gets to Dylan Gabriel for a sack on Oct. 29.

Christian Royston, Sports Reporter

Iowa State’s bowl-game path just got harder, as Iowa State couldn’t keep up with Oklahoma, dropping its fifth-straight game.

Each week Iowa State makes history, in what seems to be the worst way possible. The Cyclones set a new record for consecutive losses and are now 0-5 in the Big 12 slate of games.

“You can write the narrative of the last five games,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “Man, you’re down by seven. The next thing you know, you’re playing catch up.”

It’s nothing new to see the Cyclone offense struggle to gain momentum throughout the game. Usually the defense keeps the game within reach for the Cyclones and the offense gets close, but not close enough, to pull out a win.

That script played out slightly differently against Oklahoma. The defense did what they could to keep Oklahoma out of the end zone, but costly offensive mistakes allowed Oklahoma to run away with the game.

“If the offense doesn’t score, they can’t win,” Iowa State cornerback T.J. Tampa said.

Tampa was talking about keeping Oklahoma out of the end zone, but the sentiment holds true for both sides. Iowa State struggled to put points on the board and came out of the day with another loss.

Just when the Cyclones appeared to be done for, the fourth quarter gave them a burst of life. 

Iowa State started moving the ball with ease. The yards that were tough to come by early in the game started flowing like water.

“Man, you have to be able to capitalize on those opportunities when the momentum’s there for the taking,” Campbell said.

And capitalize they did.

Quarterback Hunter Dekkers capped off an impressive fourth-quarter drive with a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jaylin Noel. Just like that, the comeback was alive.

But all good things must come to an end. 

“I sound like a broken record, but it’s the inconsistency,” Campbell said. “Man, our inability to just sustain momentum and create that consistency that you’ve got to do to win the football game.”

With all the momentum in their favor, the Cyclones were moving down the field with a touchdown in mind. Unfortunately for Dekkers, the Oklahoma defense wasn’t going to give up without a fight.

Oklahoma defenders were all over Dekkers throughout the game and the patience paid off. Oklahoma’s Justin Broiles found his way into the path of the ball, picking up Oklahoma’s second interception of the day.

“Once we get momentum, we just have to keep it going,” Tampa said. “We just got to stay focused and not let something slip up.”

Iowa State’s defense locked down Oklahoma, as they dominated the entire fourth quarter. The Cyclones didn’t yield and the Sooners were forced to punt the ball away. 

With the defense clutching up, Iowa State had another chance to win the game.

“Again, hats off. Our defense gave us every chance to stay in the football game and win the football game,” Campbell said.

After an impressive scramble from Dekkers to pick up a first down, the Cyclones were looking at cutting through the seven-point deficit.

A costly mistake would cut those comeback dreams short. Dekkers tried to force a ball, as he’d done many times before, and Oklahoma came up with another interception late in the final quarter.

Iowa State’s defense was put in a tough position with Oklahoma deep in Iowa State territory. The wear and tear began to show and Oklahoma scored what would be the last points of the game.

With just minutes left, Iowa State tried to come back from the deficit, but it was too little too late. Trailing by two touchdowns, field goals wouldn’t cut it.

Deep in Oklahoma territory, the Cyclones converted a fourth-down play to keep the dream alive. With just one minute left in the game on fourth down again, Dekkers threw a pass to Hutchinson in the end zone that sailed just out of reach.

Just like that, the game was over. When the dust cleared, a fifth-straight loss was added to Iowa State’s record.

“It’s not an attitude and effort thing. Which I think we’re all grateful for,” Campbell said. “But it is a detail and precision piece.”

When it came down to it, Iowa State wasn’t as precise as Oklahoma and it showed. The offensive mistakes that plagued the team early in the Big 12 season are still showing up.

With just four games left to play, the Cyclones are down to the wire in hopes of keeping their season alive. Going forward, Campbell knows one thing for sure.

“We got to do a better job,” Campbell said. “Again, I’ll put that as much on me as I will on anybody else.”