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.
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IOWA CITY — A deep sigh was how Matt Campbell began the answer to a question that was sure to be asked.
How disappointing or frustrating are penalties that put your players in tough positions to be successful?
“Yeah, I mean, geez,” Campbell said. “I think really disappointing. We’re not a good enough football team to self-destruct and put ourselves in negative situations.”
Penalties were far from the main reason Iowa State lost 42-3 to No. 10 Iowa on Saturday in Kinnick Stadium, but they are a glaring piece in a long list of problems. The Cyclones (0-2) committed 10 penalties for 73 yards, one more infraction than last week.
Iowa did its share to win the game. Quarterback C.J. Beathard was 19-for-28 for 235 yards and three touchdowns while receiver Matt VandeBerg had seven catches for 129 yards and a score. LeShun Daniels added 15 carries, 112 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The Hawkeyes jumped ahead early while the Cyclones offense sputtered and the defense couldn’t find its footing. Iowa went ahead 21-3 early in the second quarter, but it was a one-yard touchdown keeper by Beathard that broke the game loose and increased the margin to 25.
Iowa State was signaled for three first-half personal-foul penalties, the latter two coming on the last touchdown drive of the second quarter. Linebacker Reggan Northrup was called for illegal use of hands while defensive end Jhaustin Thomas picked up his second personal foul penalty on a facemask.
“That’s definitely a heartbreaker,” said cornerback Brian Peavy, who had a team-high seven tackles. “It’s kind of like beating yourself out there. It’s tough and you’ve got to respond to adversity, but at the same time it’s like we’re beating ourselves.”
Offensive penalties kept Iowa State at bay offensively, too.
Quarterback Joel Lanning was 8-for-20 for 86 yards and one interception before Jacob Park relieved him after Iowa went ahead 42-3 on Daniels’ 43-yard touchdown scamper. Park played three possessions and went 6-for-15 for 79 yards and even had the chance to add 48 more yards, but was negated by three ineligible men down field penalties.
Allen Lazard was effective as a pass catcher with seven receptions for 111 yards — Iowa State had 165 passing yards — but wasn’t able to be complimented by a running game. The Cyclones surpassed what they did on the ground in week one, but could never find a rhythm.
True freshman Kene Nwangwu led all rushers with seven carries and 31 yards while Mike Warren ended with seven carries and 28 yards. Coaches hoped to get Warren the ball more than the 13 times he carried it in week one, but couldn’t get a flow.
“I keep hearing about Mike, but Mike’s the guy that’s got to practice well and be a guy that’s accountable on and off the field too,” Campbell said. “Michael’s got talent and really we’ve got some competition back there in my opinion right there as well in the tailback position. I think there was a couple times for Mike to make some plays tonight and he just didn’t make those plays.”
Warren saw the deficiencies in his performance immediately following the game too.
“(I’m just trying to make) the right reads, following holes, trusting the o-line,” Warren said. “There were probably one or two plays where the line had a perfect block and I just didn’t see the hole. I’ve just got to trust the line.”
Iowa State goes on the road to TCU before finishing its non-conference slate at home against San Jose State the week after.
“It’s rough. Losing sucks. That’s just how it is,” Park said. “You can either duck your head and become a loser or you can step up and become a winner.”
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