Iowa State football: Five takeaways from Northern Iowa loss


August 31, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers running back David Johnson (7) celebrates his touchdown with teammate Braden Lehman against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

We pick up the remaining pieces left from the disastrous loss to Northern Iowa. Here are five things to reflect on from the game, and much of it isn’t positive; the only thing that’s more rough on the team is not getting the ability to change things around for two weeks.

Get more coverage by looking at the game recap and learning about the biggest weakness that the Cyclones have been plagued with since early last season.

1) The defense is abysmal.

Seriously, this defense has to be sickening to watch for Paul Rhoads and his coaching staff. Since conference play began last season, they’ve just managed to contain just the Baylor Bears’ running game, and ISU ranked 102nd nationally in pass defense in 2012. One of the big contributors to the bad defense — the Cyclones ranked 115th in time of possession. They were on the field forever.

2) Sam Richardson needs to get rid of the ball.

Iowa State’s new quarterback should be praised for playing well in the season opener, but there were plenty of mistakes made by the sophomore. Richardson held on to the ball in key moments down the stretch and took five sacks overall in the contest. A threat of any comeback was mute.

3) Too many mistakes when facing second-and-short situations.

Somebody needs to get a counter and watch the film to catch how many times the Cyclones had a second-and-short opportunity, only to catch the ball or get tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

4) Defense needs to come out with a pulse.

It didn’t even look like Iowa State’s defense came out on the field until the third possession. Come out with that intensity against Texas and they’ll score more than Oregon did on Nicholls State last Saturday.

5) Let’s use the running backs more.

Shontrelle Johnson, James White, and Jeff Woody are only on the team for 11 more games. Whether it’s the fault of Richardson or the coaching staff, it’s time to hand the ball off to them much more often. A collective 15 carries by the group is a joke.