Cyclones can capture another moment

October, 6, 2010
10/06/10
11:45
AM ET
By now, if you don't know, you haven't been paying attention.

The only thing most people know about Iowa State football is how proud Paul Rhoads is to be coaching there.

[+] EnlargePaul Rhoads
AP Photo/Charlie NeibergallPaul Rhoads and his Iowa State Cyclones will face No. 10 Utah on Saturday.
Sure, there's more to the Cyclones, like running back Alexander Robinson and quarterback Austen Arnaud and Big 12 Newcomer of the Year David Sims, a safety.

Or its new group of linebackers that have been racking up tackles, taking interceptions into the end zone and earning Big 12 Player of the Week honors.

But mostly, any word association that follows "Iowa State" and "football" is going to start with Rhoads and his emotional locker room speech, even if Paul Rhoads is proud to coach his team on days it doesn't beat Nebraska. Which is natural. YouTube works like that.

Saturday, Iowa State will get its first real chance at an encore.

No. 10 Utah is coming to Ames, where the Cyclones are back to work after a confidence-building 52-38 win over Texas Tech. Utah has feasted on cupcakes for the past three weeks after needing overtime to rid themselves of Pitt, who has since struggled to a 2-2 start with a blowout loss to Miami and no quality wins.

In short, Utah doesn't look the part of a team ready to roll into Ames and leave with a blowout victory.

If the Cyclones can assume the role of non-AQ killer -- three teams from outside BCS conferences currently rank in the top 10 -- they'll give America reason to notice them once again, almost a year removed from a 9-7 upset win over Nebraska.

"It felt as good as the UNI win and the NIU win," Rhoads said of Saturday's win over Texas Tech, which moved Iowa State to 3-2 and 1-1 in conference play. "They're all extremely important. You work so hard all year long recruiting, coaching, scheming, training, motivating and to get a victory at this level is very important. We were thrilled with it, enjoyed it, celebrated it and we're moving on to our Utah preparation."

That may be the case inside the locker room, but if that preparation is good enough to beat Utah, the Cyclones can expect more attention and for the second consecutive season under Rhoads, a signature win.

And this time, with what looks like an even more improved team, they might have a few more signature wins left.

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