Iowa State not ready yet for prime time
So much for Iowa State's hopes of breaking into the Top 25.
Coach Paul Rhoads spent the week talking about how a victory over No. 17 Texas could propel the Cyclones into the national rankings. But after getting rolled by the Longhorns, 37-14, on Saturday, Iowa State showed it's still a long way from a place among the elite.
The loss was all the more disappointing for the Cyclones because there was a major buildup to the game and it drew the second-largest crowd in school history for a home game - 56,390.
''It was electric. It was what I expected,'' Rhoads said. ''I'm ashamed as the leader of this football program that I didn't give them a product that could make them stick around for 60 minutes and be a 12th man for us.''
Just about everything that could go wrong for the Cyclones did.
They turned the ball over three times in the first quarter alone - two fumbles and an interception - in falling behind 13-0. A holding penalty at the Texas 6-yard line early in the second quarter thwarted a drive and Zach Guyer ended up missing a 29-yard field goal attempt.
A holding penalty later in the second quarter nullified a 56-yard run by James White, and another holding penalty squelched White's 48-yard touchdown run in the third. On the same possession, with the Cyclones trailing 34-0 and desperately trying to score a garbage touchdown, Darius Darks had his scoring catch called back after being flagged for pass interference.
Oh yes, the Cyclones also had a punt blocked and Texas' Josh Turner returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.
''Coach has been telling us all season that we can't keep making the same mistakes over and over and expect to win against good teams,'' said White, who led the Cyclones with 64 yards rushing on 11 carries. ''We face adversity and it's something we have to work past.
''But we can't keep making the same mistakes every game.''
A silly penalty against the Cyclones led to yet another Texas touchdown. After the Longhorns' David Ash threw an incomplete pass on third down, Iowa State's Leonard Johnson was flagged for a personal foul for head butting Jaxon Shipley, giving Texas a first down. Ash threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Mike Davis on the next play.
But wait. It got worse.
Iowa State's best offensive lineman, left tackle Kelechi Osemele, had to be helped off the field in the fourth after aggravating a sprained right ankle. Leonard Johnson, the Cyclones' most experienced defensive back, was driven off the field on a stretcher later in the fourth after cracking helmets with teammates Jake Knott and Stephen Ruempolhamer. And another starting offensive lineman, tackle Brayden Burris, fractured a bone in his lower leg, Rhoads said.
Rhoads said he was encouraged about Johnson because he was able to move his arms, legs and hands.
''They were just taking every extra ounce of precaution to put him on that board and stabilize him and then take him to the hospital,'' he said. ''I don't know any more than that.''
The Cyclones were blanked until the play Osemele was injured, a 2-yard run by White. And they needed an official review just to get it.
Slow starts have been troublesome for the Cyclones all year and this game was no exception. Their first three possessions ended in a punt, a fumble and an interception. Also during that stretch, the usually reliable Josh Lenz fumbled the ball away on a kickoff return.
Iowa State has yet to score in the first quarter this year while surrendering 33 points. The Cyclones had staged strong comebacks behind quarterback Steele Jantz in their first three games, but Jantz never had a chance to work his magic against the Longhorns, who kept him from making big plays on scrambles and sacked him three times.
Jantz finished 28 of 51 for 251 yards and a touchdown, an 18-yarder to Chris Young with 3:50 left.
''I haven't really figured that out,'' Jantz said of the slow starts. ''Maybe it's just because we need to make a bigger point of emphasis to just come out stronger. Not so much just playing hard, but about not making mistakes.''
Ash, a freshman, threw for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
The Longhorns have now won two straight on the road against teams that beat them in Austin last year. Texas thumped UCLA 49-20 in the Rose Bowl two weeks ago.
And it faced even less resistance from the Cyclones.
The Longhorns recovered White's fumble on the Cyclones' second possession and settled for a field goal. Iowa State fumbled it right back to them on the kickoff, and Fozzy Whittaker's 16-yard scoring run off a direct snap made it 10-0 Texas just under 10 minutes in.
The Longhorns converted a pick into a 35-yard field goal from Justin Tucker to go ahead 13-0 late in the first. Johnson's personal foul paved the way for Ash's touchdown toss to Davis, who was yards ahead of the nearest defender, for a 20-0 lead with 10:18 before halftime.
Though the Cyclones beat the Longhorns in Austin last year, this one fell back in line with the history of this series. Texas improved to 8-1 against Iowa State and 4-0 in Ames.