Iowa St now must build off Iowa win

For the third straight year, Iowa State is coming off a win few

saw coming.

Now comes what has been the hard part for the Cyclones:

following up a big win with another solid performance.

When Iowa State plays a nationally televised game at Connecticut

on Friday night, the Cyclones (2-0) will try to conjure up more of

the magic that enabled them to upset Iowa 44-41 in three overtimes

last Saturday. They’ve been unable to do that following their two

previous marquee victories under coach Paul Rhoads.

Two years ago, Iowa State stunned Nebraska 9-7 in Lincoln, then

was routed by Texas A&M (35-10) and Oklahoma State (34-8) the

next two games.

Last year, after the Cyclones beat Texas 28-21 in Austin for

their first victory ever over the Longhorns, they came out flat

against a Kansas team that had been outscored 159-24 in its three

previous games. Iowa State trailed 9-7 at halftime before rallying

for a 28-16 victory.

Wide receiver Darius Reynolds said he learned from that game and

is taking a different approach this year.

”To me, the game on Saturday is already forgotten about,”

Reynolds said Monday. ”I’m just going to start watching film on

UConn, start studying them up a little bit, learning their defense

and the coverages and seeing what matchups I’ll get.

”Last year I didn’t really do that. It was more about bragging

and boasting about the Texas victory and how we beat them.”

Rhoads said there was no doubt his team started the Kansas game

with a Texas-sized hangover. The Cyclones managed only five first

downs in the opening half and got their only touchdown of the half

on a punt return.

”That’s why I think that was such a very big win,” Rhoads

said. ”We did struggle. But we fought through that struggle and

found a way to win that football game. They came in and hit us in

the mouth and we responded. Now, you’d rather go into it and not

have to be forced to respond. You’d rather go out and start

executing and playing fast from play one.”

Rhoads said he didn’t think a letdown was the problem when Texas

A&M routed the Cyclones after their victory over Nebraska.

”We were out of gas,” he said. ”It was later in the season.

It was game nine and we hadn’t had an open date. Our football team

was running on empty.”

It would be easy for the Cyclones to keep soaking up the glow

from their victory over Iowa. They had lost three straight to the

Hawkeyes and had managed only one touchdown in those games. They

scored six TDs on Saturday.

But defensive back Leonard Johnson said he and his teammates

have to forget about Saturday.

”It’s hard to do,” he said. ”Of course it is. But you’ve just

got to do it.”

Johnson had done his part to push the Hawkeyes aside. After the

game, he put a photo of himself celebrating on his Twitter account.

He has since taken it down.

”The Iowa win was good. I’m going to still think about it every

day,” he said. ”(But) find a way to put it behind you and focus

on the next opponent.”

Quarterback Steele Jantz, playing just his second major-college

game, stung Iowa with four touchdown passes and converted several

third-and-long and fourth-down situations. Jantz led the Cyclones

to the tying touchdown with 1:17 left in regulation, then directed

them to TDs in each of the three overtime periods.

The week before, Jantz produced two touchdowns in the last 4 1/2

minutes of a 20-19 victory over Northern Iowa, scoring the game

winner himself on 1-yard sneak with 40 seconds left.

He will soon face a Connecticut defense that’s giving up only

214 yards a game and has allowed opponents to complete just 47

percent of their passes. The Huskies (1-1) also have recorded eight

sacks.

Can he keep it up?

”I think he can,” wide receiver Josh Lenz said. ”I think a

lot of it’s just natural for him. He’s just a natural quarterback.

He has a knack of making plays when he needs to and that’s what

he’s doing.”