Well, that sucked. Nobody expected Iowa State to go to a bowl game this year by beating some very good teams including Iowa, Texas Tech, UCONN, and Oklahoma State of course. The 2011 football season was magical for the Clones but they ended with a dud in New York City. There were many reasons why Iowa State lost, but I’ll focus on the main three.
1. Rutgers dominated Iowa State in the trenches.
On both sides of the ball, Iowa State got dominated up front. The offensive line couldn’t handle Rutgers’ different blitzes on first and second downs. What I can’t understand is that they had almost a month to prepare and still couldn’t handle the blitzes from RU. How well a team runs the ball is directly dictated by the play of the offensive line. Rutgers’ had the worst rush defense in the Big East, but ISU could only rush for 91 total yards against them.
The defensive line wasn’t much better. They allowed Jawan Jamison to have a heyday against them. Jamison rushed for 131 yards on 27 carries. That is unacceptable especially since Rutgers had the worst rushing game in the conference.
2. Poor QB play
Both quarterbacks were far from sharp yesterday. Barnett led the offense down the field on the first two possessions. However, the drives stalled and the Clones had to settle for two field goals. Barnett only completed 2 of 7 passes and missed Josh Lenz for what would have been possibly a touchdown. That was enough for Paul Rhoads to bench him. In came Steele Jantz who didn’t look much better besides late in the game. Jantz, who hadn’t played since middle October, looked really rusty.
Both quarterbacks were responsible for all three turnovers. Barnett fumbled the ball and Jantz threw two turnovers. The turnovers have been an issue throughout the whole season and were another reason for the Cyclones loss yesterday.
The Cyclones are now faced with a QB controversy. Many Cyclone fans have already begun to discuss the battle between Jantz, Barnett, and Richardson. The QB situation will definitely be the talk of the offseason for the Iowa State faithful.
3. 2 for 13 on third downs
When Iowa State needed to keep their drives going, they couldn’t convert the third downs. When you only convert 2 of 13 third downs, you likely aren’t going to win the game. There isn’t a lot more I can say about this subject.