116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Just about everything that could go wrong for Iowa State did for most of Saturday’s game against Kansas.
But one of many mistakes — a high snap on a PAT following the Cyclones’ first touchdown — turned into a 2-point conversion instead of disaster.
Holder Blake Clark knew he couldn’t place the ball for the extra-point attempt, so he took off, made a move to freeze a defender and made the score 14-8 shortly before halftime.
That positive play for ISU (3-2, 0-2) served as a silver lining in an otherwise alarmingly sloppy 14-11 loss to the Jayhawks (5-0, 2-0) before an announced sellout crowd of 47,233.
“You’ve got to keep going forward,” ISU Coach Matt Campbell said. “So I think we’ll only continue to grow from this. It sucks that you’ve got to grow with a loss in a day when you weren’t your best.”
The Cyclones’ litany of miscues in the first half included an interception at their own 19-yard line from quarterback Hunter Dekkers, a doink off the uprights on a 39-yard field goal attempt from Jace Gilbert, and a pair of 15-yard penalties that helped Kansas complete two impressive touchdown drives before the break.
But Clark’s improvised game-changer managed to turn a 14-0 deficit into a one-score game and ISU’s defense pitched a second-half shutout to allow the Cyclones entertain hopes for a comeback.
Special teams proved to be problematic throughout the game for ISU, as Gilbert clanked a potential game-tying 46-yard field goal off the right upright with 11:26 left and one of his second-half kickoffs was returned to the 45-yard line.
It somehow got worse, however.
After ISU’s defense forced a three-and-out early in the fourth quarter, returner Jaylin Noel muffed the the punt, giving Kansas a first-and-10 at the Cyclones’ 29 yard-line. But the defense bailed out the special teams unit again, as senior linebacker and former Cedar Rapids Washington standout O’Rien Vance both caused and recovered a fumble at the ISU 42 to give his team a chance to come back.
Gilbert got one more chance to make a game-tying kick, but his 37-yarder with 32 seconds left went awry and Kansas kneeled out the win.
No Brock, no rush
ISU starting tailback Jirehl Brock looked good on his one and only carry of the game, breaking free for an 8-yard gain. But that was it. Brock suffered an ankle injury on the play and the Cyclones floundered in the running game after that, totaling negative-19 yards on 14 first-half carries marred by three sacks of Dekkers.
“It just doesn’t feel right,” Brock said. “I’m not going to go out there and risk more (potential) injury, so we’ll see.”
ISU finished with 30 carries for 26 yards against a Jayhawks defense that had given up 6.3 yards per carry through the first four games.
X moves up
ISU receiver Xavier Hutchinson climbed past Deshaunte Jones to second place all-time in career receptions with 196. He trails Allen Lazard by 45 grabs. Hutchinson finished with 13 catches for 101 yards.