ISU football falls to bottom of Big 12 after loss at Kansas

Members of the ISU defense attempt to take down running back Corey Avery on Nov. 8 at Lawrence, Kan. Iowa State fell to the Jayhawks 34-14.

Beau Berkley

Lawrence, Kan.— ISU quarterback Grant Rohach knew there was a chance he’d play heading into the Nov. 8 game against Kansas as Sam Richardson nursed a right shoulder injury sustained against Oklahoma. 

Rohach got the nod to start and found himself on the field. At the end of the game, when it was all said and done, Rohach sat in the locker room with his team. It was completely quiet. 

“I don’t know a feeling much worse than this,” Rohach said.

Iowa State (2-7, 0-6 Big 12) suffered a deflating 34-14 loss to Kansas (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) on Nov. 8. The loss to the Jayhawks bumps Iowa State out of bowl contention, but that’s likely to take a backseat to the other concerns moving forward as Iowa State faces its final three games to round out the 2014 season.

From its opening drive, Kansas took control and never let go. KU running back Corey Avery ran in the first touchdown of the day from fourteen yards out, exploiting Iowa State’s troubled tackling along the way. Kansas would score one more touchdown and a field goal to top the first quarter off with a 17-0 lead.

The ISU offense also struggled mightily, as the rushing attack failed to muster any sort of presence and finished the quarter with negative seven yards, while Kansas racked up 104 rushing yards in the first quarter. Rohach also struggled in the first quarter, completing two of his seven passes for four yards. 

“They started fast, we started in reverse,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “We did not start the game with the right frame of mind to play Division-I football with. It’s a fast game, it’s a physical game it’s a violent game.”

To start the second half, Iowa State appeared to start righting the ship. Holes were opening up for running back Aaron Wimberly, who finished the game with 98 yards, and Rohach found D’Vario Montgomery in the end zone and brought the score to 24-14. That was the closest the Cyclones would get on the day.

Kansas continued to stall Iowa State drives and score during KU possessions. Rohach finished the day with 25 completions on 50 throws with two touchdowns and an interception, as well as one lost fumble.

“There’s a lot that’s probably going to be placed on Grant for this and part of it’s going to be his and some of his plays and some of his decisions, but there’s a lot of people that contributed [to the performance],” Rhoads said.

The casual observer can’t help but wonder if the change in quarterbacks had anything to do with the outcome of the game.

“It shouldn’t have,” said center Tom Farniok. “Grant’s a good quarterback. We [the offensive line] have got to block better and get that running game going more.”

The small Kansas student section piled on to the field after the victory, celebrating the team’s first win in the Big 12. For Rhoads, the outcome of the game still goes back to the first half.

“This was a bad loss,” Rhoads said. “That’s not a knock on KU, it’s not about the opponent. That’s about the worst half [first half] of football that we’ve played in my six years here and I’m ashamed of that.”