Iowa State coach Gene Chizik says the Cyclones let one get away on Saturday. I.S.U. squandered a late 11 point lead in a loss at Toledo and now get set for this weekend’s Big 12 opener at Nebraska. Chizik says the game was there’s to win, and it was a new situation in which they were up by 11, but says it looked like they were playing not to lose.
Mistakes and turnovers were a big part in the Cyclones’ 0-2 start and they were a major factor in the loss at Toledo. Chizik says their margin for error is very slim, so an error can cause them to lose games, and that’s what happened Saturday.
Special teams breakdowns were costly. Toledoa returned a punt for a kickoff for a touchdown, scored on a botched ISU punt and blocked a potential game winning field goal by Brett Culbertson in the final seconds. He says their special teams have been good, but then they had a meltdown on special teams with a field goal, "you put your finger in one hole in the dam and then all of a sudden..you put your finger in another one to stop that."
Chizik says they need to eliminate those mistakes. He says they’ll re-evaluate their personnel as they can’t lose another game with a special teams meltdown. Beginning with the game against Nebraska, four of the Cyclones next five opponents are ranked in the top 25.
Chizik says the team isn’t looking down the road as they’re trying to figure out how to come out and break the huddle and get better. The Cyclones are averaging 144 yards of rushing per game but Chizik says the ground game can get better. Chizik says they aren’t getting a lot of yards after contact.