The schedule does not get any easier this week for the Iowa State Cyclones who will play host to Texas A@M in their annual homecoming contest. The Cyclones will be out to snap a three game losing skid after a 52-17 loss at Missouri.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads says, “We went down there and laid an egg, we played in my estimation, our poorest football game of the year certainly, and one of two in our tenure here, Utah being the other.” Rhoad says it was just timing for his team. He said he was afraid that Missouri was ready to explode offensive and that his team was ready for a lull. Rhoads says every team has a lull at sometime during the season and they were due for one after playing so hard for five weeks.
He hopes the lull is over and they are focused to play each and every Saturday. Rhoads wants the Cyclones to look at the big picture and that is a 3-3 overall record. Rhoads says they have been the underdog in five games and have won two of them, so they’ve taken the team that’s not supposed to win those games and have won them.
He says they may not be predicted to win any of the remaining games, and it will be his role to get the team ready. Rhoads says the Cyclones may be without running back Shontrelle Johnson for the remainder of the year. Johnson has missed the last two games due to a neck injury.
Rhoads used one word to describe the Cyclones run defense the past couple of weeks, “horrible.” He says it needs to be addressed and fixed and they are working on it with the players. Rhoads says they also tackled poorly for the first time down in Columbia.
Rhoads pulled quarterback Steele Jantz in the third quarter of Saturday’s game and said he will decide later in the week whether Jantz or freshman Jared Barnett will start this week. He admits the problems on offense went beyond the quarterback, as he says they missed blocks and ran incorrect routes on third down so they couldn’t convert. Rhoads says the quarterback gets the most credit and the most critic when things don’t go well.
Rhoads says he will base his decision on the quarterback based on practice and who they think gives them the best chance against Texas A@M. After suffering back-to-back losses to Oklahoma State and Arkansas the Aggies have won two straight and are coming off a 55-28 win over Baylor.
Texas A@M coach Mike Sherman says a much maligned Aggie defense is making progress and winning helps breed confidence. He says they have remained positive and he never really felt they were far off, they just needed to not give up so many explosive plays.