Every team suffers through injuries, but sometimes they hit harder and in more vulnerable areas. That’s certainly the case for Iowa State, who’s had their starting quarterback battle an ankle injury from the get-go and a very young offensive line that’s had two centers knocked out in the first two games of the season. Some of this is why the running game has been so dismal for the Cyclones, and the players express their opinions on it.
“Not to make excuses or anything, but we’re young up front. We’ve got a lot of guys in new positions, and a lot of guys haven’t got a lot of game-time experience. A lot of guys are feeling their way through everything,” Iowa State senior running back Shontrelle Johnson said in an Associated Press article on the Anchorage Daily News.
It’s an offensive line that was a worry heading into the season. The only limit given to a very deep stable of running backs, with three seniors, that have shown plenty of talent during their tenure at Iowa State.
Looking back on the games, the running attack has definitely been limited. The Cyclones have totaled just 227 yards on 68 carries and zero touchdowns through the first two games. Sam Richardson is the leader with 29 carries and 86 yards, and has had more carries than all three seniors combined.
“We’ve just got (to fix) blown assignments. It wasn’t little things, like ‘Oh, you missed this guy barely or something.’ It was, ‘We turned that guy loose,’ or like, ‘Where were you going with that one?’” We didn’t have a ton of them, but even one of those was too many,” [starting center Tom] Farniok said.
Perhaps the bye week will give the Cyclones a chance to push the reset button on the season. With a healthier Richardson to run the read-option, Farniok expected to be healthy for the next game, and a little bit of time away from home with fans already calling for coordinators Courtney Messingham and Wally Burnham’s jobs, just maybe the team can salvage a poor start and potentially get in position to make a bowl game.