NCAA FB

Iowa State reaching end of long regular season

Share This Story

   
 

AMES, Iowa (AP)

(Eds: With AP Photos.)By LUKE MEREDITHAP Sports Writer

The longest regular season in Iowa State history is just about finished.

The season itself will likely last at least another month, an extension many thought the Cyclones wouldn't get in 2010.

Iowa State (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) closes out a regular season that began before Labor Day when they face No. 16 Kansas State (9-2, 6-2) on Saturday.

The Cyclones are entering their 14th week of in-season practice thanks to a pair of bye weeks, and their win over No. 3 Oklahoma State on Nov. 18 will earn them an extra three weeks of work before an expected bowl bid against an undetermined opponent.

Iowa State is coming off a 26-6 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, but coach Paul Rhoads said the Cyclones are still playing better at the end of this long season than they were when they started it.

''We go into the month of December with an opportunity to earn two more victories, a position any coach would like their program to be in,'' Rhoads said.

The Cyclones were picked to finish ninth in the 10-team Big 12, which featured a nine-game, round-robin schedule for the first time after Nebraska and Colorado left the league. Instead of bowing to the pressure of playing everyone else in one of the nation's most competitive conferences, Iowa State got better.

The Cyclones have won three of their last four games after an 0-4 start in the Big 12, and even their 20-point loss to Oklahoma showed signs of progress. Iowa State lost 52-0 in Norman in 2010. But the Cyclones were just the second team to hold the Sooners under 30 points, and Oklahoma could only muster a field goal in the second half.

''We entered November, we were playing for something - and the actions of our players have reflected that,'' Rhoads said. ''There's been no diminish to our work, our attitude is fantastic right now. Our kids, from Sunday through Saturday are really working and enjoying the game of football.''

Iowa State's offense has been better since Rhoads made the switch from Steele Jantz to freshman Jared Barnett in late October. The measly six points the Cyclones scored last week showed there is still work to do, but Iowa State's defense has blossomed from inconsistent to solid since allowing 52 points to Missouri on Oct. 15.

The Cyclones have allowed just 74 points in their last four games and now rank a decent sixth in the Big 12 in total defense. They've been led by junior linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein, now second and third respectively in the Big 12 in tackles, and a secondary that's allowed the third-fewest passing yards in a pass-happy conference.

''Lights go one at different times. Sometimes it is in class, meaning from junior year to senior year and so forth. Sometimes it's during the season, and I think the understanding of our defense, more specifically the understanding of the game plan and how specific it is to our success is really heightened right now,'' Rhoads said. ''I think we're tackling awfully well. ... I think our pursuit and speed to the football is really good right now. And maybe it was that midseason Missouri debacle that helped turn that light on.''

For Iowa State, a win over the favored Wildcats might be enough to push the Cyclones further up the bowl pecking order. But simply reaching bowl eligibility is an accomplishment for Iowa State, and it got there because it thrived during a stretch that many believed would be too tough for the Cyclones to overcome.

''Coach Rhoads told us that a hot November team is dangerous, and we embrace that,'' Iowa State nose guard Stephen Ruempolhamer said.

Tagged: Iowa, Oklahoma, Iowa State

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash