Last week we went through the positives on Cyclones football. Here’s why we can be Negative Nancy’s about it, and that’s not even touching our history of always being positive and getting let down.
1. No difference in penalties against opponents.
After three games, Iowa State has 14 penalties called against them, the same total of their three opponents combined. Tulsa and Iowa had six called on them both, but Western Illinois played relatively clean – just incredibly outmatched. On the other end, the Cyclones had seven of their 14 penalties in the game against the Leathernecks. Focus needs to be strong in every single game. If that’s lacking against some of the weaker Big 12 opponents (including Texas Tech this week), that will cost the Cyclones a game they must get.
2. Need to convert more on third down.
The third down conversion situation with the Cyclones is positive and negative. Good on the defense stopping opponents to 27 percent, but the offense has only converted 21-48 – that’s 43.75 percent. 49th in the nation isn’t terrific, and the number is slightly boosted with a better performance against Western Illinois.
3. Improve turnover margin.
In fairness, Iowa State was -11 in the turnover margin last year and still put up a good season. But they want to reach an even higher level this year, and starting out at -3 isn’t going to get it done. In total, five picks have been thrown by the quaterbacks combined, and three fumbles have been lost by Steele Jantz, Shontrelle Johnson, and James White combined.
4. Jeff Woody’s injury woes.
Last season, Woody converted on nine of 14 short third downs and two of three fourth downs. When they need a power running attack, he’s the guy, but due to early injuries he’s only tallied up five carries for 11 yards this whole year. Now, reports show that he could be out this week against Texas Tech.
5. Is Steele Jantz the answer?
Many supporters are already falling off the bandwagon for the JUCO transfer. I’m not one of them, but I can see the fans’ frustration. He’s responsible for five of the eight turnovers by the Cyclones, but don’t be the one who falls for the backup quarterback. Jared Barnett’s victories have been based off of success on the run, and Jantz is the only one that can add a passing dynamic to beat the teams in the Big 12. He has over 200 yards passing each game and sits at 70 percent passing right now. Unless the turnovers become too much to overcome, I believe Jantz is the answer – that won’t stop fans turning on him soon if the struggles begin with Texas Tech.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Clones Confidential. Keep up with the latest sports fails and disdain toward the Big Ten by following him on Twitter.