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Defense grades: The defense just made too many mistakes against the Cyclones

A promising performance spoiled by penalties.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that sucked. Really, you did exactly what you wanted to do on defense this game. Montgomery was a non-factor for most of the game, and you more or less neutralized the Iowa State passing attack except when Hakeem Butler “created space” from our backs with a nice shove. But dumb mistakes pile up, this defense plays hard but needs to play under control.

Secondary Grade: A-

Yes, you were called for critical holding at times. But Brock Purdy, this supposed beast Freshman was completely neutered. 250 yards passing is an awesome performance.

This was helped by some big drops by Iowa State, but again unless Butler just pushed off on a few deep throws or caught a lucky jump ball Iowa State really struggled to connect.

Think about it this way if that ball does not go through Johnson’s hands on the tip ball to Hakeem Butler, Purdy’s stats are garbage. If Butler ever gets called for pushing off, Purdy’s stats are worse than garbage. Minimize the penalties and this secondary could really have had something special.

Defensive Line: B+

You got pressure on Purdy, and controlled Montgomery so why the lower grade? PENALTIES. Yes, the roughing the passer called for a low hit is nonsense. But Eli Howard is a veteran leader and that was the stupidest penalty I have seen this year.

Montgomery needed 33 (!!!) carries to reach his 125 yards, averaging a low 3.8 yards a carry. Purdy made some magic happen with his feet, but a 172 yards on the ground is a great performance.

Just like the secondary, dumb mistakes cost this defense a performance to remember.

Linebackers: A

Brooks made his first real mistake of the season, getting bounced by the ticky-tacky targeting rule. But Dakota played banged up, and still picked up 16 tackles.

Jeffers came off the bench and made the play of the day stripping Purdy in the end zone with Allen cleaning up the play and just out manning Iowa State in the scrum for the ball.

This group plays hard, and plays smart. They rallied to the ball along with the rest of the defense, and that was critical in stopping the Iowa State rushing attack.

Coaching: B-

Gibbs called a great game, and you can really see how good this defense can be. They rally to the ball, they play hard, and the physicality is much higher than previous years.

But once again, dumb mistakes will cost you. The coaches have to cleanup the penalties. Yes, those refs sucked but we commit a lot of penalties. The game was not called remotely evenly, but that does not mean we didn’t deserve a lot of those flags.

Playing hard should not mean playing dumb, and I hope the coaches impress that to the team against Oklahoma. We cannot hand Oklahoma longer drives like we did Iowa State, because that offense really doesn’t need our help.