As we officially put a bow on the Iowa State loss and begin looking ahead to Kansas State, I want to re-open the wound one last time to dissect and examine through a different lens the 48-42 loss the Cowboys took on Saturday.
Unlike last week’s column, there wasn’t much to like.
1. I did not like OSU’s inability to protect. This stat has been mentioned several times but bears repeating: Coming into Saturday, Iowa State had six sacks all season. Against OSU alone, it had seven. Truly disastrous. Other stats: 16 tackles for loss and 5 QB hurries.
2. I liked that Cornelius played fairly well … all things considered. I’m not the guy to grade a quarterback’s performance from a scout’s perspective, but given the hand he was dealt, I’m not sure he could have played much better.
“I’ll have a hard time giving you an answer [on Cornelius’ performance],” said Gundy on Saturday night, “cause he was running for his life. “It’s not easy to play quarterback and throw the ball when you’re running for your life.”
Cornelius went 19 of 33 passing for 289 yards and had four passing touchdowns, one rushing and one INT. He also had 14 rushes for 46 yards. He wasn’t elite, but then again, not even Brock Purdy (!) could’ve been much better behind the OL he relied on.
3. I didn’t like special teams, which seems to be turning into a weekly occurrence. I was optimistic that Sinor’s return to full-time punting duties and an insertion of Tylan Wallace into punt return may give OSU a slight boost in that category, but lo and behold … Sinor’s botched handling of a punt early in the game gave ISU its first two points of the game, and things were mostly downhill from there.
4. I like Landon Wolf — like, a lot! He’s really fun! Wolf had six grabs for 67 yards and a TD. That was a team-high in receptions. He was this close to leading the team in TD grabs on the afternoon, too…
5. I didn’t like Brock Purdy looking like Baker. This might’ve been the moment I slumped into my seat. He went 18 of 23 for 318 yards, 5 total TDs and 1 INT. True freshman.
Look at the fake here by ISU QB Brock Purdy on that last TD. pic.twitter.com/zeblJ6wJmA
— Derek Duke (@DerekDuke25) October 6, 2018
6. I like that Zach Sinor is going to be OSU’s worst rusher all season. I don’t like it for him obviously that he fumbled a snap and gave up a safety, but his botched handling of the football in the end zone, on the official stat sheet, went down as a negative seven-yard rush and a fumble. If we’re going all-time small sample size stats, he may be the worst rusher in OSU history. I can’t wait until 2040 when people are perplexed trying to put together why Gundy tried to use the punter as a running back and don’t have context for that sequence.
7. I didn’t like that OSU’s running backs didn’t get work. Mike Gundy likened taking Justice out of the game to LeBron coming out of the game at his presser this week, which makes sense, but I think the difference between Justice and J.D. King (or Chuba) is that each one brings a different skillset. Maybe one catches a hot hand and takes off, whereas Justice may struggle one day. There’s situations where one is needed and the other isn’t. But King got zero carries Saturday. Non-Justice running backs carries: 2. Both for Chuba.