INDEPENDENCE - For Independence, the prep football season opener bore little resemblance to its winless 2016 campaign.
Even in defeat, a clear message was sent that there are brighter days ahead for the Mustangs.
Independence nearly matc ... »
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AMES — The Iowa State football team had shown steady improvement in the last several weeks, and was just as close to going 3-0 in the last three weeks as it was to 1-2.
In its road trip to Texas, that progress didn’t carry over, at least on the day. A third-straight Big 12 loss — this time 27-6 at Texas — was certainly frustrating for the Cyclones (1-6, 0-4), but the loss played out a bit differently than the previous two.
“Offensively we didn’t help our defense out much,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell told the Cyclone Radio Network after the game. “Playing behind the sticks most of the second half and really struggled to get into a rhythm.
“(We) had a chance to get back in it on fourth and one and that’s kind of the indication of the game. We got stuffed in the backfield a little bit and just weren’t able to get a rhythm on the offensive part of things.”
Iowa State was on a tear of three straight weeks of 400-plus yards and more than 30 points per game, but its inability to create an offensive flow was its demise against the Longhorns (3-3, 1-2).
“Obviously we’re kind of hanging our heads knowing we left a lot of plays out there on the field tonight offensively and defensively,” said wide receiver Allen Lazard. “We just know going into this bye week, we’ve still got to improve this week and next week as well.”
Quarterbacks Joel Lanning and Jacob Park continued to rotate — essentially every other quarter — but neither had much success against the Texas pass rush. Lanning was 12-for-22 passing for 140 yards while Park was 7-for-12 for 42, which helped the Cyclones to just 280 total yards.
Texas sacked ISU quarterbacks eight times and aside from a 12-play, 58-yard drive that led to Iowa State’s first field goal kept the offense at bay. Lazard had seven catches and 65 yards while wide receiver Deshaunte Jones created the biggest offensive play of the day, a 42-yard grab, and ended up with five catches and 87 yards.
Iowa State was just 6-of-18 on third-down conversions and went 2-for-3 in the red zone — with two Cole Netten field goals — while big Texas pass plays broke the game open.
“The margin of error is very little in these types of games,” Lanning said. “When you make too many mistakes offensively and penalties, you can’t win a game.”
Iowa State enters its only in-season bye week with four of its last five games this season coming at home, starting Oct. 29 against Kansas State. Coaches will be on the road recruiting throughout the week, but players will use it as a chance to regroup and collect themselves.
“This is going to be a huge week to tell us where we’re going to go,” Campbell said. “Can we stay the course? I told our kids, it’s hard because we’re not getting the reward of a victory, but these kids are continuing to get better and better and making strides.”
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