Iowa State's defense accomplished what it set out to do Saturday night, that is slow down a Texas Tech offense that was averaging nearly 600 yards per game.
The Red Raiders tallied only 24 points on 395 yards of offense with just 63 of those yards coming via the run on 30 carries. The Cyclone defense even scored a touchdown of their own on a 87 yard interception return by A. J. Klein. Those are especially impressive numbers considering what was happening on the other side of the ball.
Remember Baylor and West Virginia on Saturday morning? This was the opposite of that.
The Cyclones finished with just 189 yard on the night. ISU couldn't run it and they couldn't throw it which is never a good combination.
Their first half drive chart is an abomination: punt, punt, missed field goal, punt, interception, punt, and punt. The Cyclones headed to the locker room with three yards passing in the first half on two completions.
No, it wasn't a good night.
Steele Jantz finished the evening 10 of 20 for just 75 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions (in his defense, one came on a tipped ball and another at the end of game on a quasi hail-mary). He also lost a fumble in Red Raider territory during the fourth quarter when he wasn't even touched ending a possible tying touchdown drive.
“The guy has talent. He has used poor judgment too much. And certainly, he has made a number of negative plays that have hurt out football team. He’s got to improve. Does that mean we’ll challenge him to see if he practices better? Probably so," Paul Rhoads said during his post game press conference.
Is it time for another quarterback controversy in Ames? Maybe, but probably not yet, although you can bet Rhoads will at least give it some thought as it seems he's already alluding to it in the above quote.
It is just one game - and an ugly one at that - but Jantz had played reasonably well leading up to Saturday night completing 70% of his passes. Even more importantly, ISU was 3-0 coming in. And give credit where credit is dude, Tech's defense is good, far better than the unit the fielded a year ago.
Jantz will surely take his share of the blame this week in Ames. He's the quarterback and it comes with the territory.
First year offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham also deserves his share of criticism, as well, who also happens to be is in his first season of calling plays at the FBS level. I'm guessing Saturday night's performance wasn't exactly what he had in mind for his Big 12 debut.
And then there is the offensive line who got manhandled most of the night. Get beat over and over upfront as ISU did on Saturday night and this is what you get.
“There were a lot of things that weren't pretty,” Rhoads said. “I don’t think we ever established control of the line of scrimmage. I don’t think we knocked people off the ball very well to give us a clean attack.”
And even more disappointing is the fact Iowa State created their laundry list of problems with an extra week of practice after having last weekend off. Improve they did not.
The road certainly doesn't get any easier the next couple weeks with a trip to TCU straight ahead followed by a visit from Kansas State the week following.
The good news is that if Iowa State can figure out what went wrong on Saturday night, they look to have a defense that can keep them in most if not all of their games to come. That's saying something in the Big 12 but it isn't going to happen if Saturday night's offensive performance becomes the norm rather than the exception.
We've all learned over the past three years that betting against Rhoads is usually not a wise thing to do. After one Big 12 game, however, it looks like he's once again playing with less than a full deck. Here's guessing though, that even though he might not have the best hand, he'll figure out a way to bluff us into believing he does, one way or another.