The independent student newspaper of Iowa State and Ames since 1890

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Iowa State Daily

Game-Talk Tuesdays: Breaking down the loss against Ohio

Tyler Coe
The Iowa State Football Team huddles prior to kickoff against UNI at Jack Trice Stadium on Sept. 2, 2023.

In the Cyclones’ tough 10-7 loss on the road against Ohio, they failed to address issues that plagued them in the Cy-Hawk loss a week prior.

While the defense continued to look strong for the most part, some key inactives and illness offensively halted their hopes of moving a step in the right direction before Big 12 play. The Cyclones have a lot to assess before they take on Oklahoma State on Saturday, both what worked against the Bobcats and what did not.

Assistant sports editor Logan Shanks breaks down the game from his perspective:

Run blocking

It became clear early on that the run game was not going to work against Ohio, so offensive coordinator Nate Scheelhaase and head coach Matt Campbell wisely chose to stray away from it.

But it is not the play calling that is not working, it is not even fully the running back room’s fault either, it is the lack of execution from the offensive line.

Now when looking at the line from a pass-blocking perspective, they have been one of the best in the nation and have allowed just one sack through three games. However, when it comes to making blocks in the run game, their performance against the Bobcats is the most recent example of their inability to make things easy for whichever back is behind them.

So far this season when running backs Cartevious Norton or Abu Sama III have made big plays it has been due to their combination of elusiveness and speed to run to the outside. Almost every run ends up looking like it was designed to go outside, but that’s because Norton and Sama have been forced to change their direction when the interior of the line lets a defender slip right through.

New offensive line coach Ryan Clanton has been praised for bulking up the offensive line, which in the passing game has benefitted young quarterback Rocco Becht immensely. But the problem is Becht has been put in the position to be the sole reason for the success of the offense when the talent in the running back is fully capable of taking some weight off of the young signal caller’s shoulders.

Getting healthy

It was announced on the broadcast that some key players from the Cyclones had been dealing with food poisoning throughout Friday night and Saturday morning. While some players, including Becht, were healthy enough to still play, others were not so fortunate.

Wide receiver Jaylin Noel was unavailable for the game, and while he had not done much in the first two games of the season this was an opportunity for him to have a ‘get right performance’ against the Bobcats.

Becht was even rumored to be vomiting at halftime but still finished the game. There’s no telling how much the sickness affected his game, but it certainly didn’t help not having his most experienced receiver on the field as well.

Another key player who has missed time, in this case with an undisclosed injury, is veteran linebacker Gerry Vaughn. The redshirt senior was sidelined during the Northern Iowa game and has missed each game since. While the timetable for his return is uncertain, if the Cyclones can get him back for Big 12 play he could bolster an already productive defense.

Becht improved despite turnovers

Becht’s pair of interceptions against the Bobcats, while both being at costly points in the game, are a bit deceiving on the stat sheet.

The first one came on the Cyclones’ debut drive of the second half, in which Becht was looking for wide receiver Jayden Higgins who slipped while making the cut on his route. Ohio scored its lone touchdown off that interception on the following drive.

Becht’s second interception wasn’t also entirely his fault. On what could’ve been Iowa State’s chance to push the game into overtime or sneak out with a win, Becht threw a ball that went off the hands of Higgins where an Ohio defensive lineman was in the right place at the right time.

Takeaway the turnovers and Becht had a solid day overall, and a very similar one to his outing against UNI. He completed 17 of his 24 passes for 233 yards including an 18-yard touchdown throw to Higgins in the fourth quarter.

Becht looked comfortable in the pocket when given time and spread the ball out well. He completed three or more passes to four different receivers.

The standout offensively was junior Daniel Jackson who caught three balls for 65 yards including a 39-yard catch on the Cyclone’s touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.

With many calling for true freshman JJ Kohl to take over the role as starting quarterback, it may be in the Cyclones’ best interest to stay with Becht for at least a couple of games into Big 12 play. The turnovers do stick out, but Becht has had some impressive throws in his three starts, and benching him now could not only deter his growth but his confidence as well.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Iowa State Daily. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, send our student journalists to conferences and off-set their cost of living so they can continue to do best-in-the-nation work at the Iowa State Daily.

More to Discover
Donate to Iowa State Daily
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Iowa State Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *