‘It is what it is’: Turnovers plague Cyclones in loss to Oklahoma State


Jacob Rice

Cyclones celebrate win over West Virginia on Nov. 5.

The Cyclones traveled to Stillwater, Oklahoma, with high hopes following their first Big 12 win but left empty-handed as their momentum did not prove enough to topple the Cowboys, losing 20-14 on Saturday.

The big story of the day was Oklahoma State’s domination in the turnover battle. The Cyclones ended the day with five turnovers. In a game decided by one score, those turnovers proved to be a crucial decider in the outcome of the game.

“There’s no frustration at all,” wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson said. “We hurt ourselves, point blank and period.”

Although the frustration wasn’t there, the disappointment sure was. After the homecoming win against West Virginia, it looked like the Cyclones were trending up.

Iowa State finally finished a game without the inconsistencies that were seen in previous weeks. The growing pains may have gotten better, but Oklahoma State shed light on all the cracks still in Iowa State’s game.

“Man, you come away from last week, and you feel like there was a great transformation forward,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “And today, you take a big step backwards.”

With how few games are left in the season, tough losses are not something Campbell is looking for. Iowa State has to figure out how to pull away and stay consistent on offense like it was against West Virginia.

“You can’t turn it over,” Campbell said. “I mean, what do you want to evaluate? Five turnovers? I mean, evaluate that. Like, it is what it is.”

Everything boiled down to ball security. Dekkers couldn’t keep the ball out of defenders’ hands, and the ball proved too slippery for Cyclone hands.

Any chance the Cyclones had of getting back into the game was wiped away at the hands of the turnovers. Turnovers have become a theme in each of the Cyclones’ losses and end up being a factor in tightly-contested games.

“Every loss we’ve had this year has been the turnover margin. We’ve lost that battle,” Campbell said. “When you live in a land of margin, of thin margins, to win and be successful, that’s a huge margin.”

When it comes down to it, winning in the margins is what has helped Big 12 teams separate from the Cyclones. Similar issues arose Saturday, and Oklahoma State made the most of the opportunities.

“We’ve got to be able to make the plays,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, it’s the story of every game that’s been really close and been right there.”

Iowa State had opportunities all day to make plays or stops. The defense and special teams played well, but plays weren’t made on offense to put points on the board.

The theme of the year for Campbell has been inconsistencies. It’s tough to win football games with inconsistencies, and that will be even more crucial as the year wraps up.

A bowl game could still be in Iowa State’s future, but potential wins are becoming scarce. With two games left, the Cyclones have two final chances to show how far they’ve come.

“We’re a locked-in group, and we’re gonna ride till the wheels fall off,” defensive lineman MJ Anderson said.

The big promising sign out of each of the losses is how close the Cyclones can keep the game. The loss in Stillwater marked the sixth loss of the season, five being decided by one possession.

Iowa State plays hard to the end and stays competitive through all 60 minutes. Campbell praised the leadership, which shines through on the defensive unit and is led mainly by seniors.

The attitude and effort never falter, even when the wins aren’t coming. That belief in winning is what helps the Cyclones keep every game within reach.

“The whole time–I felt like it, and I know everybody else on that field felt like it–we had a chance to really win the game,” Hutchinson said. “Even through all the mess ups we had, all the turnovers we had, we still had a chance to win the game, and everybody believed we had a chance to win the game.”

Going forward, the Cyclones are going to use the losses to grow and become better. The future is bright as long as the Cyclones keep fighting to win.

“That’s something that keeps you going–when your whole team, no matter what, believes they can still win,” Hutchinson said. “What can you do with that? Nothing can stop that.”