2020 Iowa State Postmortem: Defense

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The Texas defense limited Breece Hall to his first sub 100 yard rushing game of the season (Hall carried 20 times for 91 yards, but went for 30 yards and a touchdown on his last three carries of the game), made WR Xavier Hutchinson irrelevant (1 catch), and limited surprise slot starter Tarique Milton to just over 5 yards per reception on 6 catches. In fact, ISU wide receivers totaled a puny 112 yards receiving on 14 catches. Considering that 35 of those yards came on a busted play to Sean Shaw up the sideline for a cheap touchdown when a Texas safety didn’t replace the cornerback on a blitz (or later make the tackle) and you’re looking at the Texas cornerbacks pretty much dominating outside to the tune of 13 catches for 77 yards to ISU’s non-TE pass catchers.

If you’d told me that before the game, I’d have wondered how ISU was going to break 13-17 points unless Breece Hall went nuts.

Unfortunately, Brock Purdy (25 of 36 for 312 yards and no turnovers) started throwing it elsewhere and the ISU tight ends repeatedly gashed Texas in the seams to the tune of 11 catches for 200 yards combined by big Charlie Kolar (6-131) and the even bigger Dylan Soehner (5-69). Kolar and Soehner were both low 3 star recruits ignored by their local schools (Kolar is from Norman, OK, Soehner is from Pine Bluff, AR) but the Cyclones identified their traits in the bargain bin and developed them into the best tight end combo in the Big 12. Unfortunately for Texas, this was the duos best performance of the season. Even more unfortunately, Texas coverage played a direct role in that.

That inability to halt the ISU tight ends or get a slippery Brock Purdy on the ground when the Texas pass rush got there was enough to get 23 Cyclone points on the board and negate an otherwise spirited, if imperfect, Texas defensive effort.

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