The Ottumwa Courier

Sports

October 14, 2013

Frustrating losses leave Cyclones searching

AMES, Iowa (AP) — The numbers tell one story about Iowa State's football team.

The results on the field spin quite a different tale.

Iowa State is scoring more than it has in coach Paul Rhoads' first four seasons. The Cyclones are plus-six in turnover margin and lead the Big 12 with nine fumble recoveries. Their kick coverage and return teams have been solid. They've given up only five more points than they've scored.

Yet they're scuffling along at 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12 with several challenging games still ahead, including Saturday's test at No. 12 Baylor, operator of the nation's most prolific offense.

Most frustrating of all for the Cyclones: They've lost those four games by a total of 22 points. No loss has been by more than a touchdown.

"We feel like we've kicked the door hard enough that the next kick's going to open the whole thing," running back Jeff Woody said.

The Cyclones will have to play more consistently on both sides of the ball for that to happen, and that's been a problem.

Despite the improved scoring, the offense has been hit and miss. Because of injuries, the starting offensive line hasn't been together for an entire game. Quarterback Sam Richardson is playing on a bum ankle. Running back Aaron Wimberly missed the second half of last Saturday's 42-35 loss at Texas Tech with a shoulder injury.

Wimberly is back in the lineup, but Rhoads sounded more pessimistic than ever about Richardson's prospects of getting close to full strength and what that means for the offense.

"We're not going forward because he's not getting any better," Rhoads said. "Whether it's any worse or not, we're not progressing. That is part of the game, but at the same time it's dissatisfying having to try to improve with that in mind."

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