Iowa State got off to a great start in yet another key Big 12 game, but Justice Hill and the Oklahoma State offense roared back with 21 straight points. But a late touchdown push by Iowa State sends this pivotal Big 12 game to halftime knotted at 21-21.
Allen Lazard did not waste much time having an impact on the game. Five minutes into the game, Lazard got his hands on a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Cyclones on the board. After Iowa State’s defense forced a three-and-out on Oklahoma State’s first offensive series of the game, the Cyclone offense went back to work with another methodical drive, traveling 64 yards on eight plays for another touchdown to go up 14-0. David Montgomery capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run.
Perhaps going down 14-0 was the wakeup call Oklahoma State needed. On the ensuing possession, the Cowboys got on the board with a 21-yard pass from Mason Rudolph to Marcell Ateman. After forcing a three-and-out, and taking over at the Iowa State 32-yard line, Hill scored a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter. Another three-and-out by the Cyclones led to another touchdown drive by Oklahoma State, with Hill once again capping the drive with a run to the end zone.
Iowa State tied things up in the final minute of the first half when Joel Lanning, the 6′-2″ 230 lb. quarterback, stepped in at quarterback for q short-yardage push at the goal line. It worked as Lanning and the Cyclones muscled forward for the touchdown on the ground.
A win by Iowa State will keep the Cyclones in the running to make the Big 12 championship game, thank in large part to head-to-head tiebreaker with both Oklahoma and TCU. If they can get one more this afternoon against Oklahoma State, that would be huge. Oklahoma State also needs this win to stay in the Big 12 title hunt as well. Stay tuned for a wild second half.
After dropping to 2-5, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads may be in the final weeks as head coach of the Cyclones. At 31-51 in his seventh season on the job, the time may soon be coming for Iowa State to consider some drastic changes with its program, but for now Rhoads is making changes he feels are necessary to improve Iowa State now. Today that mean cutting ties with offensive coordinator Mark Mangino.
Iowa State and Rhoads made the decision official today by announcing Mangino has been let go as the team’s offensive coordinator. Passing game coordinator Todd Sturdy will take over the role of offensive coordinator for the rest of the season. A lack of cohesiveness between head coach and offensive coordinator appeared to be the tipping point.
“Mark and I couldn’t get on the same page on a few important items,” Rhoads said, per SI.com. “We tried to talk that through again this morning in an effort to get us moving in a different direction. In the end, Mark was not interested in that. I wish that wasn’t the case, but I respect and understand his conviction.”
Iowa State owns the 48th best total offense in the nation, which is not so bad. The Cyclones have stalled inside the red zone though with a scoring percentage of just 75 percent once entering the 20-yard line. That ranks 111th in the nation, with 21 scores on 28 red zone trips. Iowa State has scored just 16 touchdowns on this trips, a touchdown success rate of just 57.14 percent (86th in the nation). Iowa State’s struggles on offense are pretty clear, but there is much more holding Iowa State back from developing a winning reputation.
History alone suggests winning at Iowa State does not come easily, and because of that the bar for success for Iowa State and Rhoads has never really been all that high. However, Iowa State is two losses away from being ineligible for postseason play for a third straight season. Rhoads is absolutely a coach that can keep a good relationship with his players, and that counts for something. The question is whether or not Iowa State would be better off with a different head coach.
Iowa State will make another change with the offense as well. Joel Lanning will be the team’s new starting quarterback starting this week against Texas. Lanning replaces Sam Richardson, who had completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,420 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. In six appearances this season, Lanning has completed 65.5 percent of his pass attempts for 264 yards and four touchdowns while backing up Richardson.