In response to a question about Iowa State’s struggling kicking game, Coach Paul Rhoads said Monday night on his call-in show that holder Derec Schmidgall and kicker Grant Mahoney will set up a yard or two deeper when kicking field goals and PATs starting this week against Texas A&M.
Mahoney had one of each blocked last week at Nebraska and, as we all remember, had the game-tying PAT blocked in the final minute in a loss to Kansas State that was the start of his difficulties.
He’s made only four of his last field goals and either shanked or had blocked four PAT tries in the last four games after making the first 47 of his career.
The sophomore from Marion clearly is in a funk.
“It’s certainly a major issue with this football team and we’ll address it like anything else,” Rhoads said. “We’re always talking about adjusting because Grant’s ball doesn’t necessarily lift up as much as you would like.”
It didn’t help that Husker defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh easily shed his blocker and barged through the middle of the line to swat away Mahoney’s kick.
“There were a number of things that contributed to the blocked kicks, not just Grant,” Rhoads continued. “We’re working rapidly to make sure that we fix all of those things and don’t repeat it. What’s taken place before isn’t a repeated mistake. These were new issues that we got to deal with.”
Also heard on this week’s call-in show, ISU had sold just 39,000 tickets as of Monday for next week’s game against No. 13 Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.
Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said the OSU game and the Cyclones’ previous home game with Baylor — which drew a crowd of 42,253 — were not sold as part of ISU’s mini-pack ticket package, which sets the attendance total back 5,000 right off the bat.
The first three home games of the season (No. Dakota State, Iowa and Army) averaged 50,484.
Pollard strongly encourages fans (I’m paraphrasing him here) to show their support and come out for the game, which will kickoff at either 11:30, 2:30 or 7 p.m. depending on what the television networks decide. That will be known Sunday.
ISU could be playing for bowl eligibility for the first time since 2005.