Iowa State vs Oklahoma State football: Instant reaction


A huge blown call by the refs at the end of the first half followed up by a Tyreek Hill kickoff return for a touchdown all but sealed Iowa State’s fate in Stillwater, falling 37-20 to Oklahoma State.

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It was a back-and-forth defensive stand throughout the first half. The Cyclones picked it off two times — first by Sam E. Richardson and the other by Nigel Tribune — but no touchdowns came of it. Iowa State settled for two short field goals when the offense just couldn’t make many plays. Outside of a 53-yard scamper on a short pass to DeVondrick Nealy, there was not much to be had.

Again, the running game had a little bit of juice with a couple of good runs by Nealy and Aaron Wimberly, but nothing significant. Oklahoma State’s defenders did one hell of a job defending Iowa State’s receivers, but even when quarterback Sam Richardson was delivering the ball to them, they had some inexcusable drops. That was really evident in the closing minutes of the second quarter.

The huge momentum shift in this game came in the botched return attempt after Oklahoma State kicked a field goal to make it 6-6 with less than a minute to go. The kick split both designated returners and the Cowboys ended up with the ball in the red zone.

Oct 4, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back DeVondrick Nealy (20) carries the ball during the first half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Fast forward to about five seconds left. Because OSU quarterback Daxx Garman could barely throw a fade successfully, the Cowboys decided to risk it and run the ball in with Desmond Roland. If they didn’t make it, the clock would expire as they had no time outs.

Initially, Roland’s run was short and the game would have been 6-6 at half. But on review, the refs determined that Roland broke the plane and awarded him the touchdown. On the contrary, there wasn’t enough evidence to overturn the call. Remember in replay that there has to be zero doubt that something happened for it to be overturned. There was clearly doubt, yet they overturned it anyway.

That made it 13-6 with Oklahoma State getting all the momentum. It was fueled in Tyreek Hill’s 97-yard kickoff return to open the second half. Iowa State did a good job on special teams covering Hill from making a big play in the first half, but clearly the whole team didn’t get over the horribly missed call by the refs.

E.J. Bibbs had a great catch to get the team’s first touchdown, but the offense couldn’t stay on the field. Iowa State’s defense weakened and eventually couldn’t stop Oklahoma State’s offense anymore. A great effort in the first half was negated as the stats and the score made the game look a whole lot worse than it was. For two and a half quarters, Iowa State outplayed Oklahoma State thanks to the incredible effort by the Cyclone defense and spotlight plays from the offense.

Oct 4, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Iowa State Cyclones offensive coordinator Mark Mangino (R) looks on from the sidelines during the first half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Again, you can’t blame the refs completely, but this is about as close as it gets. That terrible call mixed in with Hill’s returns sapped all the life out of the Cyclones and would have with any other team in that situation. But it shouldn’t have come to that. Iowa State had plenty of missed opportunities in the first half, and if they had a lead before the terrible call, they could have overcome it.

Instead, you got a weak effort in the second half. That you can blame on the refs all you want.

There’s clearly a cloud over the offense. It was extremely disappointing to watch Sam Richardson continue to look inconsistent throwing the ball. He has his moments and I thought he did a good job overall in the first half considering how inconsistent he’s been this season, but it regressed throughout the game. But Oklahoma State doesn’t have a strong pass defense, and seeing the passing game go less than 200 yards before garbage time is just about unacceptable.

Richardson falls to 2-12 as a starter, 0-9 in Big 12 play. It was a rough first four games for him, but this was a moment that he needed to look strong and he didn’t pass the test. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about the next man up under center, just if it’s to jumpstart the offense. Because right now, it’s as dead as the fanbase’s optimism.