Now that the botched call can be put behind us, pending a punishment given to Paul Rhoads, we can finally focus on what actually happened during Iowa State’s game against Texas.
What happened on Thursday night was a young Cyclones team that continued to improve their play week after week.
1. There’s incredible balance between rushing and passing when the offensive line protects well.
For the second straight week, the offensive line wasn’t a disaster. Iowa State pounded the ball on the ground early, then Sam Richardson found E.J. Bibbs to open up the passing attack. Quenton Bundrage would steal the show with five catches for 137 yards, most of that coming on the 97-yard touchdown reception that ignited Jack Trice Stadium. If the line protected this well against the Longhorns, their could be a bright future even this season for the Cyclones.
2. The running back position has been solidified to two players – Aaron Wimberly and Jeff Woody.
Shontrelle Johnson didn’t play in the game, and James White’s lone rushing attempt was a fumble that set up Texas inside the ISU 20-yard line late in the first quarter. Wimberly had another plus-100 yard day on the ground with a touchdown, and even caught two passes for 23 yards and had an additional TD.
3. Bye weeks helped Sam Richardson enter Big 12 play healthy.
Richardson needs to be close to 100 percent if the Cyclones are going to compete in their games, and he was very good against a big-time opponent. This team didn’t get down when adversity struck early on, and he was able to avoid pressure for most of the night – with the exception of their final drive in the third quarter when Richardson was sacked two straight times. That botched a drive that started at mid-field.
4. Iowa State came in as the least penalized team in the nation, and had 10 penalties against Texas.
“We’re the least penalized team in the league coming into this game. There sure seemed to be a lot of hankies out there,” Rhoads said in the postgame conference. “I’m sure they made tremendous calls all night long.”
This was not an equally officiated game, highlighted by the first of two pass interference calls on Iowa State during Texas’ drive after Bundrage had his 97-yard TD. Coming from a guy that’s watched Texas a lot in the past 13 years, saying they don’t benefit from calls more often than not in games is a misguided opinion. That’s with all due respect to the Longhorns, their fans, and the media that covers them.
5. Paul Rhoads did a solid recruiting job on his postgame rant.
Okay, so we’ll go back to the botched call. I’ve already gave my thoughts and provided my argument that the Big 12 officials were incorrect. But that doesn’t hold a candle to what Rhoads did in his postgame rant. He will likely get punished for what he said by the Big 12, but he won a ton of players over that night. He’ll have their backs in any situation, and he provides the emotion that represents how much fans do love this team. Even through the losses.