Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Cyclones looking for another huge win
By David Ubben
The last time a team from Oklahoma visited Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, the night ended as one of the greatest in the history of Iowa State's program.
A six-win football team celebrated a bowl berth and a win over No. 2 Oklahoma State with about 20,000 or so of their closest friends when fans stormed the field. Jeff Woody powered into the end zone in double overtime, and the party was on.
The Sooners will be prepared to face Cyclones linebacker A.J. Klein in their Week 10 game.
Oklahoma comes to town this week, and the giant-killing, 5-3 Cyclones would love nothing more than to ignite yet another celebration at the expense of a Sooner State foe.
"It is a huge test. They typically always play really well at home. They have a good defense," quarterback Landry Jones told reporters. "It will be a big challenge to see how we respond to this loss and what kind of team we are going to put out there on Saturday."
Iowa State is just 5-69-2 all-time against old Big Eight rival Oklahoma and have lost their last 13 dates against the Sooners dating back to 1990. The last win before that was all the way back in 1961, too.
Jones saw one tough defense in Notre Dame last week, and the Cyclones will present another, giving up fewer than 20 points a game, the third-best mark in the Big 12.
Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads made clear the test in front of his lauded defense.
"We think they’re one of the fastest running offenses in this league, a league full of offenses that go at a very rapid pace. I think Landry Jones is as good as a quarterback as there is efficiently running that kind of offense," he said. "They’ve got a number of explosive receivers that will be a great challenge for our guys to cover and not allow them to get behind us."
Like Notre Dame, Iowa State's defense runs through its linebackers. A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are as good as any in the Big 12, ranking fourth and first in the league in tackles, respectively. The Cyclones will be without Knott, a captain, after coaches convinced him to undergo shoulder surgery following Saturday's win over Baylor, when Knott made 11 tackles and forced a crucial fumble to prevent a Bears score. For his efforts, he earned the Big 12's Player of the Week honors.
"You can be around a lot of good players and it’s more about them than the team," Rhoads told reporters. "He has made it about the team and in the process, taking care of his own business and taking care of that very well. He’s special to me because he was the first guy that I got a commitment from as a head football coach."
Oklahoma struggled to move the ball consistently against Notre Dame, racking up just 379 total yards, their lowest total of the season.
Klein is no Manti Te'o, but he's plenty good in his own right. Just don't expect Oklahoma to change what it does offensively to get around either player.
"Defensively, they’re similar in some of their coverages and how they play. They play very well, very disciplined, very good," Stoops said of Iowa State and Notre Dame's defenses. "Our attitude is never based on just the linebackers. It’s more based on the entire defense and where you feel you matchup well and what you want to do. It’s never just about the linebackers."
Is Iowa State ready to reprise its role as giant killer? It'll get a chance on Saturday.
"This is a team that we haven’t figured out a way to beat," Rhoads said, "and most people haven’t figured out a way to beat it."