Here’s five things to take away from Iowa State’s close 32-28 loss to Kansas State. Some of it includes how much better than team played, looking at the potential of the offense under Mark Mangino, and both praising the fans that still believe in the team and shunning those that overreacted after one week.
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1. There was a lot of improvement from the loss against North Dakota State.
The entire football team — especially Sam Richardson, DeVondrick Nealy, and Jarvis West (we’ll touch more on him later) on offense — played so much better than last week. Even though the second half resulted in zero points, they were moving the football. They put themselves in position to win the game. They just fell short with a costly interception that was more of a great play by the Kansas State defense, and they couldn’t come back after giving up the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes to go.
2. Iowa State’s crowd will cause havoc for opposing teams if they could make Kansas State struggle.
Seeing false starts, 10 total penalties, and Jake Waters getting dropped by the defense multiple times was a great momentum boost for the Cyclones, and it was all thanks to the wild fans that were screaming and hollering throughout the game. If they keep that up, it’s going to be hard for any opponent to play well in Jack Trice Stadium.
3. Early shades of “Mangenious” were at work with the utilization of Jarvis West.
Everyone knew that West had a ton of talent. So did Mark Mangino. The offensive wizard used him in a variety of ways, and it payed off in the 28-point barrage that the Cyclones had later in the first half. He’s fast, smart, and even showed he had an arm in the deep pass to Allen Lazard for the true freshman’s first touchdown. He has all the talent to step up in place of the injured Quenton Bundrage and become the team’s leading receiver.
4. Maybe the linebackers are better than we all thought.
What hasn’t been talked about much were how well the linebackers played. Jevohn Miller led the team with 11 total tackles. Drake Ferch had a career-high of nine and Luke Knott, Jake’s little brother, had seven. Knott started the game at weak-side linebacker, sliding Miller over to the middle and pushing Alton Meeks down to second on the depth chart at Mike. This trio sounds right together, and they played well together.
5. Hopefully fans learned a lesson in quitting on the season and calling for Paul Rhoads’ job after one game.
When interviewing Bring on the Cats editor John Morse, he hit the nail on the head — fan reaction went nuclear after the loss to NDSU because Cyclone fans already had low expectations coming into the season, and the team gave up 34 straight points to an FCS opponent. Despite how good we all know NDSU is and how much better they are than your typical FCS foe, that didn’t stop a lot of fans from giving up on the season, yelling at media members for overhyping the season, and calling for Rhoads to be fired or at least be put on a hot seat.
Everybody that reacted so negatively are idiots. At least the bickering simmered compared to a week ago. A sense of hope was given to all Cyclone fans to not give up on the season, and now it’s your choice to continue having an insufferable negative attitude toward it or look positively with three hard games coming up.