AMES, Iowa – No. 15 Iowa State (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) had its four-game winning streak snapped at the hands of West Virginia (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) on Saturday.
Coach Matt Campbell’s message is staying consistent.
“I said this when we won and I’ll say it after a tough loss, it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” Campbell said in the postgame press conference.
The normally fundamentally sound and detail-oriented Cyclones made a number of key mistakes in the first half, eventually trailing 20-0 in the second quarter. Iowa State let up two 50-plus yard passing plays, threw a costly interception and had an offensive pass interference, to name a few of the mistakes the team made in the first half.
While Iowa State seemed to remedy many of those problems, Campbell’s team still had issues.
The offense was inefficient and stagnant during parts of the game. Iowa State’s offensive line failed to open up clean running lanes for running back David Montgomery, receivers dropped a few key passes, including Trever Ryen in the fourth quarter on a pass thought could’ve gone for a touchdown had he hauled it in. West Virginia sent a number of blitzes on obvious passing situations that flustered the normally unflappable Kyle Kempt.
“You look at this game and there are a lot of things we did well and some things we didn’t do well,” Campbell said. “It’s your ability to grow from those and learn from those and just keep getting better. That’s why you don’t get high with the highs and lows with the lows, you just learn and you grow.”
The one thing Campbell loved from his team was the attitude and effort they played with. It would’ve been easy for Iowa State to give up when it found itself in a 20-point hole, but the Cyclones clawed their way out, eventually losing 20-16.
“That’s the one thing I can take away from this game is our kids played hard for as long as they could and I’m proud of them from that aspect of it,” Campbell said.
Campbell isn’t worried about whether or not people view his team as successful right now. He’s worried about correcting the mistakes Iowa State made.
“You have an opportunity at the end of all of this to sit down and say, ‘Who are we really and what can we accomplish?’” Campbell said. “That’s just part of it. A lot of it is learning and growing and certainly there’s a lot to learn from. It’s just a matter of, will you?
“Then at the end of it everybody can make the decision of, ‘were you successful?’ That’s the only way I know how to do it.”