Some tidbits from last night’s 34-17 victory over North Dakota State — and some postgame stuff that couldn’t find a place in today’s newspaper:
— Cyclone juniors Jason Carlson and Hayworth Hicks were ruled academically ineligible this week by the NCAA and are lost for the season. Coach Paul Rhoads didn’t offer up this information, he was asked directly after the two were spotted on the sidelines Thursday wearing their jersey tops and warm-up pants.
Carlson, a receiver, and Hicks, an offensive linemen, were expected to play this year and at the very least provide depth at those positions. It’s not a huge loss, but it is significant.
— The receiver position suddenly isn’t looking as deep as it was as far back as just last week.
Carlson’s gone, Houston Jones hurt an ankle and wore a walking boot Thursday night, Darius Darks played against NDSU but has nursed a hamstring injury throughout much of camp, and Sedrick Johnson played less than 10 plays after hurting his ankle on ISU’s first offensive series.
“He got caught up in the turf,” Rhoads said. “He tried to go on it but we thought it would be smart to hold him out.”
— Starting left tackle Kelechi Osemele had fans worried for a few minutes when he left the game in the third quarter. Turns out it was just leg cramps and KO — who may be the team’s best lineman — returned on the next series.
— Starting linebackers Jesse Smith, Fred Garrin and Josh Raven combined for 30 tackles. This is a group that’s been dissed for their lack of overall athletic ability, but looked awfully strong against the Bison. Smith had 15 of those stops.
— Eight — yes, eight– tackles for loss were credited to the Cyclones, including four sacks of North Dakota State quarterback Nick Mertens.
— The Cyclones’ second-team offense got some time with the game in hand in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Jerome Tiller completed 1 of 2 passes, an 11-yarder to freshman Josh Lenz.
Jeremiah Schwartz rushed seven times for 43 yards. Those numbers would sound even better if it weren’t for the ball he put on the ground. Coaches have to be able to trust ballcarriers. Schwartz will have to earn some back after that, which probably means Alexander Robinson isn’t going to be sharing many meaningful carries while the game is being decided.
— Special teams was very solid. Grant Mahoney hit 2 of 3 field goals, including a career-best 50-yarder that gave ISU some big-time breathing room late in the third quarter.
Punter Mike Brandtner averaged 49.2 yards on four punts and Lenz, the true blue freshman from Dubuque, made all the right calls fielding punts. He looks like a keeper.
— Lastly, how about this: ISU was penalized one time all game — for an illegal block with 1:31 left in the game. Wow.