AMES – Iowa State’s offense finally delivered, and it brought the Cyclones a victory.
Featuring an effective and dynamic passing attack, Iowa State found relief after two straight weeks of struggles in a 34-27 victory Saturday over Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.
Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns to power the Cyclones’ offense to their most points in a game since scoring 43 against Ohio last September. It was also the most points Iowa State scored against a Big 12 opponent since Nov. 26, 2021.
Becht’s big day came in his fourth career start, and the redshirt freshman spread the ball around to help jumpstart the previously flatlining offense and stop the Cyclones’ losing skid at two.
Iowa State (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) got its breakout offensive game after scoring just seven points last week in a loss to Ohio and 13 the previous week to Iowa.
It was a welcome departure for an offense that had yet to hit any kind of stride under first-year coordinator Nate Scheelhaase.
But the day was not perfect for the offense, which continues to struggle to run the football. The Cyclones averaged just over 2 yards per carry after posting 1.7 against the Bobcats and 2.8 against the Hawkeyes.
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has been insistent on using the run to set up the pass, but the Cyclones’ success through the air and the lack thereof on the ground may signal that Campbell and Co. are acknowledging that Iowa State’s best path to production may be with Becht’s right arm.
Jaylin Noel had eight catches for 146 yards and a touchdown while Daniel Jackson had six grabs for 80 yards and a pair of scores. Six Cyclones caught two or more passes on the day.
The Cyclones’ defense wasn’t quite its dominating self against the Cowboys (2-2, 0-1), but they still largely contained coach Mike Gundy’s attack throughout the day.
The Cowboys threw for 278 yards and rushed for another 131. Quarterback Alan Bowman took every snap for Oklahoma State after the Cowboys had played three quarterbacks in their previous games.
Iowa State was certainly hampered by injury on defense with defensive backs Malik Verdon and Darien Porter both missing the game with injury.
Starting running back Cartevious Norton left the game with an injury and was seen with his right arm in a sling on the sideline throughout the second half.
Iowa State will now be tasked with keeping its offensive momentum next week with a road trip to Oklahoma to face the undefeated and 14th-ranked Sooners on Saturday. Oklahoma held Cincinnati out of the end zone and limited the Bearcats to 3 of 15 on third down in a 20-6 victory in Week 4.
It could be the Cyclones’ last-ever trip to Norman with Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 for the SEC after this season. Iowa State last won there when quarterback Kyle Kempt and the Cyclones shocked eventual Heisman-winner Baker Mayfield and the No. 3 Sooners in 2017.
Iowa State has not won a Big 12 road game since Oct. 16, 2021, at Kansas State.
Travis Hines covers Iowa State University sports for the Des Moines Register and Ames Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (515) 284-8000. Follow him on X at @TravisHines21.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Instant analysis: Iowa State football's passing game was key to victory