Midseason report: Iowa State

Iowa State’s 1-4 record doesn’t accurately reflect where this team is. Or how far it’s come in just a month.

After a disastrous start to the season with losses to Northern Iowa and Iowa, the Cyclones have played much better in their last three games. The return of center Tom Farniok, who missed the first two games, stabilized the offensive line. And the emergence of Aaron Wimberly gave the Cyclones the bell-cow running back they’ve desperately been searching for.

But due to a couple of bad breaks, Iowa State has little to show for its improvement.

Two weeks ago, the Cyclones led Texas 30-24 with less than four minutes remaining. But Texas went on a 75-yard drive, which was aided by two pass-interference penalties and a controversial fumble call. Near the goal line, Iowa State's Jeremiah George picked up a loose ball and started running the other way. But officials ruled the ball down, and replay upheld the call. Texas scored two plays later.

The Cyclones played Texas Tech tough last weekend, too, but fell 42-35.

With four losses already, Iowa State’s two-year bowl run is likely to come to an end, given the remaining schedule. But this is a team with plenty to build on for next year. Especially if the Cyclones continue to improve like they have.

Offensive MVP: Wimberly has been the biggest difference for the Cyclones offense in its last three games. In those first two losses in which Iowa State failed to move the ball effectively, Wimberly got 10 total touches. Since, the Cyclones have been feeding the junior college transfer, and he’s rewarded them with an average of 106.3 rushing yards per game. Wimberly was knocked out of the Texas Tech game, but is expected back this week against Baylor.

Defensive MVP: Jacques Washington has made a team-high 31 consecutive starts and ranks third in the Big 12 with 10 tackles per game. The senior free safety has been a foundational player for a defense that’s otherwise in rebuilding mode.