116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — The effort is always there.
That’s been the persistent problem for the 2022 edition of the Iowa State football team, which will once again try to regroup from a narrow loss Saturday at 6 p.m. against Texas Tech in the home season finale at Jack Trice Stadium.
“I think the hard part for me is not for me or our coaches, it’s for our seniors,” Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell told reporters after his team’s 20-14 loss at Oklahoma State. “And as I said (in the locker room), next week is Senior Day and why we’re even close is because of our senior class.
“I get it. I would understand why our fans are frustrated. I would understand why everybody would be frustrated because we all want to win.”
ISU (4-6, 1-6 Big 12) hoped it would successfully build off a turnover-free, 31-14, win last week over West Virginia, but instead, its all-too-common causes for concern were on full display against a Cowboys team (7-3, 4-3) that had lost two consecutive games by a combined score of 85-16.
The Cyclones committed a season-high five turnovers, were whistled for eight penalties and dropped numerous passes — including one late in the game by Jaylin Noel that could have put ISU ahead.
“We hurt ourselves, point blank and period,” said ISU senior receiver Xavier Hutchinson, who became the program’s all-time receptions leader with 244 — three better than Allen Lazard’s total. “I feel like if you don’t have those crucial turnovers like we had, even early in the game, personally I feel like you’re looking at a whole different game.”
Instead it was more of the same — a conference season-long trend the Cyclones hope they can reverse against the Red Raiders (5-5, 3-4) on Senior Night.
“Could Xavier Hutchinson have done any more for us (Saturday)?” Campbell said. “Could (senior linebacker) O’Rien Vance do any more for this team? Could (senior safety) Anthony Johnson do any more?
“(Senior safety) Tayvonn Kyle stepped up in a big way (Saturday). (Senior linebacker) Kendell Jackson steps up in a big way. And you look at those seniors and what I have seen and witnessed, they’re the only reason we’re right there.”
That remains achingly close, but now the path to an unprecedented sixth consecutive bowl berth has narrowed significantly. Still, a chance remains if ISU’s execution can finally mirror its level of effort more regularly.
“Whatever we’ve got going on, we are a locked-in group and we’re going to ride until the wheels fall off,” defensive end M.J. Anderson said.