After a quick start on offense – leading to a 14-0 lead – Saturday, Iowa State’s offense stalled.
Game-ending injuries to center Tom Farniok and receiver Quenton Bundrage were cited by many as the reason for the lull.
Paul Rhoads noted that the Bison switched to a man-to-man defense in the secondary to counter ISU’s good start.
“We didn’t perform well against man coverage,” Rhoads said. “That’s the change that North Dakota State made after we were moving the ball against its zone concept. Then, we didn’t perform against man coverage.”
That ties back into the loss of Bundrage. The Cyclones’ big-play receiving threat was out. With two other receivers on the sidelines for other issues, Iowa State didn’t handle the man coverage well.
“We didn’t have people open,” Rhoads said. “(Sam Richardson) was going through his progressions very well and much better than he has in the past.”
Bundrage is out for the season. Someone needs to get open in the passing game to loosen things up. There are lots of candidates.
“With Quenton out, some guys need to step up and make plays at that position,” Rhoads said. “If they don’t, then the execution of the football team is going to suffer.”
Part of the in-game challenge is responding to injuries and part of it is adjusting to the opponent.
The Cyclones could see more man coverage and must execute better against it.
They control that option much more so than how the injury bug strikes.