ISU offense takes big step back in loss to Oklahoma

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Tiffany Herring/Iowa State Daily

Redshirt sophomore receiver D’Vario Montgomery jumps for a pass against Oklahoma on Nov. 1 at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones suffered their 16th straight loss to the Sooners with a final score of 59-14. The Cyclones allowed 751 yards of offense to Oklahoma.

Alex Gookin

It looked like the days of 30-point performances were here to stay. The Cyclones’ last two games resulted in 82 points and 978 yards of offense against two solid defenses. 

Against Oklahoma, that offense was nowhere to be found. Sam Richardson couldn’t get on the same page with his receivers, and the Cyclones only managed 14 points against the Sooners in a 59-14 loss at Jack Trice Stadium.

“Today probably was just not our day for offense,” said wide receiver D’Vario Montgomery.

But the question everyone had was “Why?” Why such a drop-off from the improvements made through the first part of the season?

“Couldn’t tell you,” Montgomery said.

And he’s not the only one. Even ISU coach Paul Rhoads struggled to put his finger on exactly what went wrong for the Cyclones.

One thing is for certain — the passing game wasn’t quite what it had been the past few weeks, with Richardson going 15-40 and 239 yards. Rhoads didn’t shy away from it when asked if the pass game was a little off.

“No, it was off a lot,” Rhoads said. “I would bet 20 [or more] pass plays we either misfired with the ball or we dropped … Against a team like [Oklahoma], you’re needing every one of them.”

With the way the Oklahoma offense was able to move the ball on a shorthanded ISU defense, the Cyclones really couldn’t afford any mistakes. With Nigel Tribune sidelined with a groin injury and Jevohn Miller leaving the game with what is reported to be a season-ending knee injury, the offense needed to be as potent as it had ever been this season.

But almost no one expected the offense to struggle like it did, especially against a passing defense that was 102nd in yards allowed per game. Coupled with defensive breakdowns, the Cyclones have a lot to work on heading into what may be the team’s most winnable game of the season against Kansas.

“I’m a positive seeker, and I guess if I was to do that, I would say that we did some things better today in our kickoff return, creating three takeaways as a defense was a positive thing,” Rhoads said. “Outside of that, there wasn’t a whole lot more that was positive. Give a lot of credit to Oklahoma; they are a very good football team.”

And they are, along with five other ranked Big 12 teams that have put Iowa State’s strength of schedule near the top in the nation. But a 45-point loss is a bad loss no matter which way you slice it.

“We got beat pretty bad,” said defensive back Sam E. Richardson. “[We’ve] just got to not get down about that game.”

More importantly, Iowa State needs to bounce back in a game against a Kansas team as hungry for a win as the Cyclones.

“We just [have to] put this one in the books and prepare for next week,” Montgomery said. “Go through the whole week like we’re about to play one of our best opponents again.”