AMES — Iowa State quarterback Zeb Noland had his toughest start last week on the road against TCU.
Noland only completed 50 percent of his passes, going 14-of-28 for 79 yards.
The Cyclones (1-3, 0-2 Big 12) got back from Fort Worth, Texas, at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning. While many college students had just finished drinking at the bars, Noland downloaded the film from the TCU game onto his iPad, went home and watched the film into the wee hours.
“I always try to watch through it just so I have an idea of what I missed and what we can get better at,” Noland said. “I feel like that’s what’s expected of me. I know the coaches have already watched it on their computers before we even get back to Ames. They have the luxury of that as coaches. I feel like it’s my obligation to know what’s going on before I show up on Sunday.”
The biggest thing Noland said he took away from the TCU game was maintaining his poise throughout the game and not letting bad plays get to him in the moment.
Some examples he gave were the strip sack and not converting the fourth-and-4.
“There were some frustrations in there, missing some throws,” Noland said. “I just have to stay poised and take what they give me. We all have to do a better job of staying positive and putting that play behind us and playing it play to play and not trying to make every single play or work ourselves up because this happened. We just have to continue to play within each possession and each play.”
Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell pointed to Noland’s poise, as well.
“Poise in terms of, when things get crazy in a football game, and it doesn’t matter what position you are, and you’re being challenged, I think it goes back to your fundamentals and your details,” Campbell said. “When things get to that point, you can hang back and rely on those fundamentals and details and things usually start to settle back into place. I think, at times, that was off-kilter as the game went on.”
Noland led Iowa State on a scoring drive in the fourth quarter. A drive he kept alive with a 28-yard scramble on a third-and-25 situation. Campbell was also quick to point out that this was only the fourth start of Noland’s career.
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“I do think the one thing that was growth for Zeb is turn the ball over, not playing your best football game and yet, when your team needed you the most to make a play, he made a play,” Campbell said. “That’s a credit to him. You look statistically after the game and is that the best football game he’s ever played? No. But I still felt like him being able to make that play was a good confidence booster for him. We went down and scored and had an opportunity to win the football game. I think for him, it’s just part of the growing process.”
“That’s the first time he’s had to play against a level of opponent, in terms of defensive football, of that magnitude. I saw him work through it.”
Now, he needs Noland to maintain his poise throughout the game.
“Every quarterback — doesn’t matter if you’re in eighth grade or the best player in the NFL — is going to have bad plays,” Noland said. “But how can you minimize those and how can you be more accurate? Those are the things that go through my head. What could I have done better to give my team a chance this play?”
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