– Coaching decisions that make you go hmmm . . .
The onsides kick turned out to be a killer, huh? Iowa State marches 46 yards on 11 plays and sophomore Grant Mahoney puts up the Cyclones 3-0 on a 46-yard rocket of a field goal.
On the ensuing kick . . . Hmmm. The Cyclones tried an onsides kick. Reserve linebacker Bruce Davis did what he is coached to do — watch the ball come off the kicker’s foot and let your body react. He was shocked to see the onsides.
Great idea if it works. First-year ISU coach Paul Rhoads stood behind the decision.
“There’s a right time and a wrong time, whether you are successful or not, to run those types of plays,” Rhoads said. ‘That was the right time.”
He wanted to take advantage of a tiring Iowa front seven, he said. He saw a formation he wanted to exploit in the kicking game.
“There was some holes on their kickoff return team… that we knew we could take advantage of if we executed properly,” he said. “I’d do it again without hesitation.”
It was discussed in meetings Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Great idea if it works. It didn’t. Reporters tried to attach a “turning point” tag to this play. Yes, Iowa scored 35 unanswered after that, but it didn’t have anything to do with QB Austen Arnaud’s interceptions.
– Arnaud compounded some awful throws with some questionable decisions. Two of his four picks were throws just behind WRs in the middle, where S Brett Greenwood and LB Jeff Tarpinian tipped balls to S Tyler Sash.
The timing probably hurt Arnaud the worst. The balls were somewhat late and over the middle. That’s no man’s land in the face of a veteran secondary well schooled in their zone defensive schemes.
“I kinda let coach (defensive coordinator Norm) Parker and the defense bait me into a couple bad throws,” he said. “For me it was a lack of focus on those plays.”
– Iowa had four freshman and four sophomores either start or make significant contributions.
RB Brandon Wegher made a big splash with 101 yards and a TD. WR Keenan Davis had a TD. Redshirt freshman Riley Reiff made his first career star, filling in for LT Bryan Bulaga. Micah Hyde saw action in dime situations. Of course, Sash. a sophomore, had the three interceptions.
– No straight answers on the Bryan Bulaga absence. It’s medical, it sent him to the hospital, but coach Kirk Ferentz believes the all-Big Ten tackle will be back for Arizona.
Here’s the entire Ferentz answer to the question:
“I think there is a good chance from what I have been told. You saw him on the sidelines today and he is doing fine. It is just a matter of getting some things cleared. It is realistic to think that we will have him.
“He had a deal in practice on Tuesday and it required hospitalization so they could figure out what was going on. The good news is that we have a tremendous hospital about 400 yards from our facility. They were on top of it right away and the good news is that he was never in danger. That is the first thing that you worry about with anybody leaving the field. I think we are in good shape there and we are close to getting him back at full speed.”
– Sash got a lot of the attention Saturday, but don’t lose sight of free safety Brett Greenwood’s contributions — two interceptions, six tackles and two more passes broken up. He played and immaculate center field.
– Other injuries: None really. Greenwood, center Rafael Eubanks and linebacker A.J. Edds left with cramps, but seemed OK.
– QB Ricky Stanzi didn’t have his best day, but he ground it out and eventually ended with a career-high four TD passes. He used 10 different receivers, including running backs and fullback. Gasp! Senior WR Trey Stross led Iowa with four catches for 69 yards. He had a 39-yarder that set up a TD. After 10 catches last week, TE Tony Moeaki had just one catch for 4 yards.
– Next up: Arizona (2-0) @ 2:30 on ABC (KCRG)
The Wildcats dumped Northern Arizona, 34-17, on Saturday night. RB Nic Grigbsy was the horse, carrying 15 times for 207 yards, including TD runs of 25 and 30 and a long run of 94 yards, the second longest in UA history.