AMES — Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler set a career high on Saturday in Iowa State’s 37-27 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma.
Butler reeled in five passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. The junior averaged 35 yards per reception.
On his first touchdown pass, he broke four tackles en route to a 51-yard touchdown. He downplayed what he did.
“It was game plan stuff,” Butler said as if the game plan was for him to break four tackles. “We knew there was a hole in the defense and we executed. Zeb (Noland) put it in the right spot and from there, it was on me.”
Noland, running back David Montgomery and coach Matt Campbell were also unsurprised by Butler’s day.
“No (I was not surpised),” Campbell said. “This is what I really love about that kid, if you came and watched us in fall camp, he’s the same guy. He’s been the most consistent that I’ve ever seen of a big-play receiver in a long time. I think that helps a guy like Zeb really settle in and have confidence — and whoever’s at quarterback, whether it’s Kyle, whether it’s Zeb, whether it’s whoever. It gives you a chance.”
Noland said every quarterback has their guy. The 6-foot-6 Butler is definitely Noland’s guy.
“I did my best to get him the ball and let Hakeem do Hakeem things,” Noland said. “He did it last year against Baylor when I played and I just did my best to let him make plays.”
One of Iowa State’s biggest problems on Saturday was its tackling. The Cyclones had trouble making one-on-one tackles in space.
“I think just the reality from our end is in how many of those receiving yards came after, yards after catch, to be honest with you,” Campbell said. “(Marquise Brown) had the big one down the middle of the field and I think, again, our awareness and understanding; we’re not good enough to give up the big play consistently.
“That’s maybe the biggest chunk one we gave up, but I think in the second half we tackled better and we had better awareness and we let the game settle down. That’s hard. You go from week 1 in the box to week 2, they’re playing at mach speed and they’ve got elite skills players all over the place.”
Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt will miss his second game next week against Akron with a knee injury, so Noland will be the guy once again for the Cyclones.
Iowa State also suffered a couple injuries in Saturday’s game. Right guard Josh Knipfel went down with an injury late in the game. Campbell said he’ll be good to go for next week’s game.
Tight end Chase Allen, on the other hand, will be questionable.
“Chase didn’t come back in,” Campbell said. “We’ll assess him to see what’s going on there. I don’t think it’s anything major — it wasn’t a knee or an ankle or anything. I think it’s just a strain and we’ll see how long and what that really looks like.”
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