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Game-Talk Tuesdays: Kansas State

A+group+of+Iowa+State+defensive+backs+poses+for+a+photo+during+warmups+at+the+Iowa+State+vs.+Kansas+State+football+game+at+Bill+Snyder+Family+Stadium+on+Nov.+25%2C+2023+in+Manhattan%2C+KS.
Tyler Coe
A group of Iowa State defensive backs poses for a photo during warmups at the Iowa State vs. Kansas State football game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium on Nov. 25, 2023 in Manhattan, KS.

Iowa State wrapped up its regular season in Manhattan, Kansas, Saturday with a 42-35 win over No. 19 Kansas State, in which the Cyclones found ways to get themselves in positions to win the game, even with the snow-filled field.

Even going into this game for Iowa State, it had already clinched a spot in a bowl game and had already lost all hope of going to the Big 12 Championship game following its loss to No. 7 Texas.

But the Cyclones did not want to end their season on a bad note, as they stormed into Manhattan and took down their first ranked opponent of the season.

With the win, the Cyclones finished the season with a 7-5 overall record, going 6-3 in Big 12 play, which was a major improvement from last year’s 4-8 performance.

Sama has proven to be the running back of the future for Iowa State

Following a tough loss to No. 7 Texas, in which Sama and the running back room were completely shut down by the Texas defense, the Cyclones knew they had to get back to their old running ways.

On Saturday, Sama came into the game versus Kansas State as the lead running back, as Eli Sanders and Cartevious Norton did not make the trip with the team due to undisclosed reasons.

Sama ended up taking full advantage of getting the majority of the carries Saturday, as he torched the Kansas State defense for his best game ever as a collegiate athlete.

Sama ran for 276 yards on 16 carries for three touchdowns, as he carried out one of the better running back performances of the season and in Iowa State history.

Each of his three touchdowns came from runs over 60 yards, as Sama bursted out of the backfield to get Iowa State some major scores.

Sama had shown flashes of his potential to be a great running back earlier in the season, but with this performance, it only gave more excitement for what the future could hold for the young star.

Becht efficient with limited passing attempts

With snow both falling from the sky and piling up on the field, it made it difficult to have an efficient passing game with visibility being limited.

Quarterback Rocco Becht had shown his troubles in the first half as he could not find his receivers in the snow, as Iowa State relied heavily on the rushing attack led by Sama.

Going into the second half, the snow had started to cease from coming down as much, which made it possible for the Cyclones to open up the passing game.

Becht took full advantage of the lack of snowfall, as he threw for 230 total yards and three touchdowns in the game, with all of the touchdown passes coming in the second half.

His leading receiver in this game was Jaylin Noel, in which he completed three passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns to Noel who flashed his catch-and-run ability.

Becht threw his other touchdown to wide receiver Jayden Higgins, who finished his game with two catches for 55 yards.

With only eight completions in the win against Kansas State, Becht was efficient in the times he had the ability to drop back and pass, as he helped lead the team to a big victory.

Surges makes an impact

Defensive back Drew Surges had his best performance as a college athlete Saturday, as he ended up having the second-most tackles on the team.

Surges finished the day with 11 total tackles, all 11 being solo tackles, with one of the tackles being for a loss of yards. He played a crucial part in stopping Kansas State’s offense from gaining momentum.

The true freshman highlighted his performance with a huge hit he made on Wildcat running back DJ Giddens, in which he laid out the Kansas State star, preventing a potential touchdown on that play as well.

Surges has shown throughout the season his potential to be a big playmaker whether it be with the special teams unit or the defensive unit, as he will be a name to lookout for in the future as well.

No sacks allowed in Snowmageddon

Both teams had held their own in the sacks allowed department, as both Iowa State and Kansas State did not allow a single sack the entire game.

From an offensive standpoint for the Cyclones, it was a phenomenal job done by the offensive linemen that kept the Kansas State pass rush from getting to Becht.

The offensive line has generally kept a clean pocket for Becht to make plays all season but has shown times where they could improve.

From a defensive standpoint for Iowa State, the statistic of no sacks is not a good thing to see, as Kansas State quarterback Will Howard had all the time in the world to make plays to his receivers.

This has been an issue for Iowa State all season long, as the Cyclones have had problems getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

With Iowa State taking the win over the Wildcats, it is promising to see the work the offensive line has been putting in but still raises some concerns for the Cyclones defensive line going forward.

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