Matt Campbell said he was pleased with three-fourths of Iowa State’s 31-15 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. It wasn’t just one quarter or one play, either. The head coach saw room for improvement in the first and fourth quarters of the win.
The first area of improvement Campbell saw came on Iowa State’s first drive of the game. The Cyclones received the ball at their 23-yard line and proceeded to drive the length of the field. Inside the red zone, Brock Purdy connected with Chase Allen for a touchdown, but it was called back due to a pre-snap penalty. The drive subsequently stalled and Iowa State had to settle for a short field goal attempt. But Connor Assalley’s attempt was blocked and Texas Tech returned it for a touchdown. The play was a 14-point swing early in the game.
The two plays were examples of Iowa State falling short in the details according to Campbell.
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“I mean, we want to be the best version of us,” Campbell said. “And there are some things today, the blocked field goal, we get a touchdown called back again today because of an illegal formation, there are some things at the end of the game defensively. Those aren’t what elite teams do.”
“Things like a field goal block for a touchdown,” senior tight end Chase Allen added. “That’s such an Iowa State thing to happen. And we’ve got to eliminate that. But it kind of gives us confidence that we can handle that because a lot of teams that would happen to and they immediately fold. So I’d say we weather the adversity well. But we’ve got to fix those details, or it’s going to come to bite us in the butt.”
Iowa State responded to the immediate adversity and went on the score 31 unanswered points. The Cyclones controlled the game with their offense and held the ball for more than 40 minutes of game time.
But in the fourth quarter, Iowa State gave Texas Tech a glimmer of hope. The Cyclones went three-and-out on their first drive of the fourth quarter and the Red Raiders responded with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to make it a two-score game.
Iowa State went three and out again on the ensuing drive but the defense came up with a stop on fourth down to seal the win.
“If we really want to have that killer mentality and end games without trying to give everyone a heart attack, we’ve got to be able to not go three and out late in the game,” Allen said. “We’ve got to extend the clock and just keep it rolling, give our defensive break.”
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With the bye week ahead, Campbell hopes the time off will give the coaching staff and the players time to correct the little shortcomings.
“Again, it’s early in the season and we’ve got to coach it and get it corrected,” Campbell said. “Some of those things, or some of those people, whether it’s repetitive or not, we’ve got to do a great job of evaluating it, figuring it out, and then as coaches getting it fixed. So I think there are some areas that we’ll continue to work really hard at. And again, if we want to become the best version of ourselves, it’s going to be detail and precision that’ll allow that to happen.”