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Campbell hopes to ‘clean up’ costly mistakes, Iowa holds off Iowa State

Tyler Coe
Iowa running back Kaleb Johnson gets past Iowa State corner T.J. Tampa at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023.

AMES — It was clear from the start that the Cy-Hawk game would be an uphill battle for the Cyclones.

Similarly to how Cy-Hawk games have played out in the past, mistakes would be the difference in who came out on top. In the end, it was the team with fewer mistakes that took home the trophy as Iowa beat out Iowa State 20-13.

The first mistake of the game for the Cyclones came on the first drive of the game. The Cyclones moved the ball well and had a shot at a 36-yard field goal to get the scoring started.

However, some miscommunication on the attempt caused the kick to be blocked and Iowa State to leave their solid starting drive empty handed.

“You know the field goal thing was goofy,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “Because the official moved the football, and it was just a goofy deal.”

Because of the communication with the ball placement, Iowa State’s interior offensive linemen were not prepared for when the ball was snapped. Iowa capitalized on the mistake.

Shortly after that, the Hawkeyes found a crack in Iowa State’s defense and took full advantage.

Iowa’s Jaziun Patterson broke past the line to rumble 59 yards down the field. That set up an Iowa field goal.

“You tip your hat to them,” Campbell said. “They made the play and we didn’t.”

Just one drive later, more mistakes came.

Iowa State’s Myles Purchase picked up a crucial defensive pass interference call on a Hawkeye third down to extend Iowa’s drive. Just a play later, the Hawkeyes tossed a ball over the top to Luke Lachey to break into the red zone and set up a touchdown run from Patterson.

Iowa State’s Beau Freyler was covering Lachey and knew he misread the play from the jump. Although he caught up to Lachey to prevent more yards, he still was not happy with the outcome.

“I take blame for some of those plays,” Freyler said. “Gotta be better with my eyes, and just being consistent.”

The biggest mistake of the game for the Cyclones came just after a huge defensive play. Iowa State’s Jeremiah Cooper snatched his third interception of the year over top of an Iowa receiver. However, just two offensive plays later, Rocco Becht threw a ball right into the hands of Iowa’s Sebastian Castro for a pick-six.

“The third-and-one play on defense, the third-and-two play on defense and obviously the interception stick,” Campbell said. “Because those are big plays, and when the game is fairly even every other step of the way.”

Both offenses performed similarly throughout the game. Going into the final quarter, both teams’ total yards were nearly identical. Iowa State was slightly better in the air, but Iowa was slightly better on the ground.

Jayden Higgins catches a touchdown from Rocco Becht against Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 9, 2023. (Tyler Coe)

It was not until the final quarter that Iowa State finally found its groove.

“Cleaned up some of those mistakes and just kept playing,” Freyler said.

Trailing 20-6 with three minutes left, the Cyclones were faced with the biggest fourth-down play of the season. They needed nine yards and a touchdown to stay alive.

As the Cyclones broke from their huddle following a timeout, Becht let the drawn-up play develop. As an intimidating Hawkeyes pass rush barrelled toward him, Becht let one rip into the back corner of the end zone.

“Rocco threw a great pass first of all,” Iowa State wide receiver Jayden Higgins said. “I just had to make a play on the ball.”

And make a play he did. Higgins jumped up and snatched the ball out of the air over Deshaun Lee to secure the ball in the back corner of the end zone.

Suddenly the Cyclones were back in the game. Iowa’s lead was now within one score; 20-13.

After that drive, it seemed that Iowa State had put its mistakes in the rearview mirror.

“We were just efficient,” Campbell said. “I think when you look back on a couple of those drives… you’re a hair off. It’s either a decision there or a drop here. Man, I didn’t feel like it was a lack of execution.”

With three minutes left, the Cyclone defense just needed a stop to give their offense a chance at the win. However, two runs in and the Hawkeyes were an inch away from a first down.

As Iowa’s Kaleb Johnson broke to the outside, Jacob Ellis shot past the line and wrapped up his ankles in the backfield. The Cyclone offense was rewarded with the chance they needed.

“We definitely knew that defense was gonna get a quick stop,” Higgins said. “We were calling our plays already right when the defense was on the board.”

With two minutes left, there was a ray of hope left. However, the mistakes that plagued the Cyclones early were about to rear their ugly heads.

The first-down play for the Cyclones fell short. Becht’s pass was broken up.

The next pass was good for nine yards. The drive was still alive.

A big third-down play was coming up. The next pass turned out the same as the first. Broken up at the line.

The Cyclones just needed one yard. However, as Cartevious Norton took the handoff, the Iowa defense was all over Iowa State’s play. Norton was swallowed two yards behind the line of scrimmage.

The final play fell short. One last mistake to end the game.

As Iowa kneeled out the final seconds of the game, the Cy-Hawk trophy changed homes again. Iowa got the better of Iowa State 20-13.

“There are some things we have got to clean up,” Campbell said. “We’ve got to keep moving forward.”

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    Larry | Sep 10, 2023 at 8:27 am

    It is going to be a very long season for the Cyclones.