A depleted K-State team traveled to Ames today, and got obliterated. In a comprehensive beatdown, Iowa State (6-2, 6-1) earned a Farmageddon rout for the ages in a 45-0 whitewashing of the Wildcats (4-4, 4-3).
The Cyclones scored on the opening drive thanks to three big plays. On 3rd-and-12 from their own 23, Brock Purdy found Xavier Hutchinson for 20; a couple of plays later Breece Hall rolled for 15, then Joe Scates caught a pass on a 33-yard fade for a touchdown.
K-State’s offense worked well on their first crack at the ball. On their first play, Will Howard connected with Chabastin Taylor for 29. Legs got the Cats down to the Cyclone three, but Iowa State’s defense locked up. On 4th-and-goal from the 2, Chris Klieman opted to go for it rather than kick the field goal; Lawrence White corralled Howard for a loss of a yard and a turnover on downs.
Then things got ugly. Ekow Boye-Doe, on consecutive plays, ate a (very soft) pass interference flag then slipped on the turf on the next play, allowing a 28-yard completion to Hutchinson. Purdy ran for 17, completed a couple of passes, then faced 3rd-and-8 from K-State’s 25. The Wildcat defense destroyed Iowa State’s offensive line, but overpursued; Purdy slipped through a gaping hole arguably opened by K-State and took off. About eight yards downfield, Purdy pump-faked... and it worked. He ended up gaining another ten yards. Two plays later, on the opening snap of the second quarter, Purdy found Charlie Kolar from six yards out for the score.
K-State went three-and-out, but the defense did its job the next time out. A holding call on D.J. Render on the Joe Rivera punt wiped out a crafty Phillip Brooks return and pinned the Cats at their own four; the result was another three-and-out, and Iowa State had the ball in Wildcat territory. A few plays later, Boye-Doe got beaten again, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. A perfectly placed lob from Purdy was well-defended but just out of his reach, and Hutchinson made a circus catch for a 21-yard score.
Deuce Vaughn finally made an impact, but it was on the ensuing kickoff. He gathered in a short kick and skittered for 34 yards to put the Wildcats at mid-field. His reward was the first carry; no gain, and two incomplete passes later K-State punted again.
Hall ran for 26. Hutchinson beat Ross Elder for 29. Hall ran for 33, and Iowa State could go no further because Hall was in the end zone. The next play from scrimmage, Howard was picked off. Hall ran for 21 and another touchdown.
35-0 Iowa State, and Nick Ast entered the game in place of Howard. K-State tried nothing fancy, but picked up 14 yards on three carries before Josh Rivas appeared to roll his ankle and the Wildcats opted to just let the clock expire.
Let’s be honest, nothing in the second half mattered. Iowa State added a field goal in the third. On the first WIldcat play of the fourth quarter, Vaughn had the longest play from scrimmage for the Cats, finally breaking loose for a 23-yard gain, but two plays later Ast fumbled the ball away. The Cyclones missed a field goal, then Tyler Burns fumbled the ball away; Iowa State’s backup QB scored a couple of plays later to make it 45-0.
Stats? Cover your eyes. Howard was 3-9 for 32 yards with a pick. Ast was 6-10 for 44 yards, more than doubling Howard’s passer rating. Vaughn had 44 yards on seven carries plus two catches for four yards, Harry Trotter had 28 yards on four touches, Chabastin Taylor caught two balls for 37 yards, Brooks had one catch for 22... and everything else was trivial.
Purdy was 16-20 for 236 and three touchdowns, and added 59 ground yards on seven carries. Hunter Dekkers was 3-5 for 63, and scored once on the ground. Hall had 135 yards and two scores on only 15 carries. Hutchinson caught six passes for 111 yards and a trip to the end zone. Iowa State racked up 539 yards of offense, running for 240; K-State only managed 149, split just about evenly.
Players of the game
Our offensive player of the game is, by default, Vaughn. He didn’t really earn it, but when you’re the only person who even managed 40 yards of offense, what can we do? Defensively... vacant.
What did we learn?
1) Justin Hughes and Elijah Sullivan were sorely missed today.
The middle of the field was wide open for the Cyclones all day. Cody Fletcher and Daniel Green, who’ve seen a lot of action, filled in decently but something was still missing.
2) Messingham’s got to go.
The inability to adjust to other defenses’ own adjustments to Vaughn is absolute negligence. The job of a coordinator is to do what works, then when other teams figure out how to stop it, come up with a new plan. If you find something that works and insist on continuing to do it after other coaches figure out how to stop it, you need to find other work.
3) Letting Breece Hall escape Kansas was a catastrophic self-own.
Breece Hall is a sophomore. He’s got three more shots at K-State. We’re not going to enjoy it.
4) This season is done.
K-State might win another game. Maybe even two, with a generous bowl matchup. But these guys are beaten. Between COVID, injuries, and transfer attrition, you can just see the deflation. Practice has been severely hampered, execution is off as a result, and everything is just not working now. The sooner this season is over, the better.
5) On the other hand, if there is actually spring practice...
Next year could be promising. A massive portion of the problem this year, right from the gun, can be traced to a team which due to its roster makeup desperately needed the spring to get organized. If some semblance of normalcy can be regained by March, we could see a team which is largely the same as it is right now as far as personnel (with the addition of Jake Rubley, no less), but is much more prepared. We can only hope.