Iowa State had more passing and rushing yards than 15th ranked Missouri, but couldn’t outscore them, falling 14-0 to the Tigers Saturday in Ames. The Cyclones needed the win to become bowl eligible, and Coach Paul Rhoads says while his team played hard with a good effort, that wasn’t enough.
Rhoads says you have to execute and can’t have the mistakes they had against a top-ranked team like turning the ball over and missed field goals, and win football games. He says as they build and move the program forward, those are the things they will correct. Iowa State had the chance to take the lead in the first quarter, but the drive stalled at the Missouri 20 and Grant Mahoney then missed a 38-yard field goal.
Rhoads says that was a big momentum change in the game as their offense was driving successfully, but then they got shut out and he says it is very deflating. Rhoads says he thought the team responded after that first miss.
But a fake punt by Missouri, another missed field goal and a fumble kept them from getting any points on the board. Rhoads took the team to a bowl game that they won in his first season and says it’s not a good feeling to know they aren’t going to a bowl this year.
Rhoads says he’s extremely disappointed that they are not going to a bowl game, as when he said last year the goal was to go to a bowl game, that’s the expectation every year as that is why you play college football. “And not having that opportunity is very disappointing with this team, because we had opportunities to get to six (wins) and beyond and we didn’t get that done.,” Rhoads says.
Rhoads says the lockerroom after the game was as down as he has ever seen. Iowa State defensive back Leonard Johnson said it was tough on everyone to see the season end.
Johnson says it was very disappointing to not be able to go to a bowl game as that’s their goal. He says in the offseason they need to get things rolling and prepare for next season. Iowa State played one of the tough schedules in the nation, and Johnson says it shows how much the attitude of the program has changed that they were able to come within one game of being bowl eligible.
Johnson says the five wins says a lot about the coaching staff and the players on the team, but it was not the goal they had set for the team.
The Cyclones had 18 seniors who suited up for the final time on Saturday. They finish the season at 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12 conference.