Without two starters, ISU defense still stout
Will Grier came into the night a Heisman candidate. West Virginia came into the night one of the country’s most explosive offenses.
Neither of those rang true when they left Jack Trice Stadium.
Grier was bottled up and the Mountaineers were stifled as the Iowa State defense was a star Saturday in the Cyclones’ 30-14 victory over No. 6 West Virginia.
“Our defensive staff did a great job of having a plan to constantly switch up the looks and be as multiple as we could,” ISU coach Matt Campbell said. “I think that’s probably the most multiple maybe we’ve been.
“Grier is one of those quarterbacks that if you’re in one thing too long, he’s good enough he knows the offense, he’s going to make great adjustments.”
Grier managed just 100 yards while completing 11 of 15 passes with a touchdown and interception. He was also sacked seven times.
“Those guys did a great job getting to the football when they needed to,” Campbell said of his pass rush.
West Virginia was ranked 10th nationally in total offense prior to this night while Grier was the country’s leader in touchdowns per game, was completing 70 percent of his passes and had notched 300-yard passing performances in all but two of his 16 career starts.
Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock’s group completely shut them down.
“MVP,” defensive lineman JaQaun Bailey said of Heacock.
The Mountaineers had just 152 yards of total offense and punted eight times after coming into the year having punted just 12 times total through five games.
Down two starters
The Cyclones’ defensive success was even more impressive given it was down two starters with defensive lineman Ray Lima (concussion) and defensive back Lawrence White (ankle) both not in uniform.
“Ray kind of tried to go early this week,” Campbell said. “Got dinged up a little bit last Saturday. I think he will only continue to get better. I expect him to be ready to rock and roll. Lawrence got dinged up in practice. Nothing long term.
“I would expect them both to be probably going into our next football game.”
ISU has a bye this week before hosting Texas Tech on Oct. 27.
Special teams mishaps
First, it was a missed PAT, which was bad enough. Then, though, the Cyclones had a field goal blocked and returned for a 72-yard touchdown.
“Adversity is going to happen,” Campbell said. “Things are going to happen in a game. That’s unfortunate that it was a situation I don’t think it was anybody’s fault, they weren’t trying to do it, but it happened.
“Our ability to respond to it was really powerful.”