Failed 4th-down vs. ISU
Most people forget that Tech’s 31-15 loss at Iowa State was actually a competitive game in the second half. In fact, do you remember that Tech had the ball inside the ISU 40 in the third quarter with a chance to cut the Cyclone lead to 21-14?
On a drive that began at the ISU 39-yard line after the Red Raiders recovered a fumble, Tech faced a 4th-and-2 at the Cyclone 31. Because at this point in the year, the Red Raiders had yet to make a successful field goal and because he knew that field goals weren’t likely going to beat the Cyclones in Ames, Wells made the right decision to go for it.
But in one of the most unimaginative plays of the David Yost era, the offensive coordinator called for a simple zone read right into the heart of the ISU defense. Of course, the play was snuffed out as no one on the field or in the stands thought there was any remote possibility that QB Alan Bowman might keep the ball.
At this point in the game, the Tech offense was yet to score any points for itself as the only TD the Red Raiders had put on the board came on a blocked FG return by Zech McPhearson. But we all hoped that the short field opportunity might spark some life into that side of the football.
Of course, it didn’t and Tech missed an opportunity to put some pressure on the Cyclones. What’s more, it seemed as if this play killed the last bit of fight that Tech had until Bowman was pulled for Colombi after the game had been put to bed.
The likelihood that Tech was going to beat Iowa State this year was slim, to begin with. But the goal of this year was to show progress and putting the Cyclones in a tight battle on the road would have been a nice sign from a program that has not put up much of a fight against ranked teams in recent years.
Sure, this play only prevented Tech from getting to within seven points but no one knows what would have happened had this drive yielded seven points. Instead, ISU would score 10 points on their next two scores to put the game out of reach and Tech would see yet another opportunity to possibly beat a quality team slip away.