N Illinois 41

(1-2, 0-2 away)

Iowa State 48

(2-1, 2-0 home)

12:30 PM ET, September 18, 2004

Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA

1 2 3 4 T
NIU 7 21 6 741
ISU 13 7 6 2248

Top Performers

Passing: P. Horvath (NIU) - 285 YDS, 4 TD, 4 INT

Rushing: A. Harris (NIU) - 29 CAR, 94 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Blythe (ISU) - 4 REC, 104 YDS, 3 TD

Iowa State 48, Northern Illinois 41

AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Freshman Todd Blythe caught three touchdown passes, the last a 4-yarder for the go-ahead score with 5:13 remaining to lift Iowa State to a 48-41 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday.

In a game that had huge momentum swings both ways, Iowa State (2-1) scored 28 straight points to erase a 14-point second-half deficit. Northern Illinois (1-2) had come from 13 down in the first half to take the lead.

It was 34-all when DeAndre Jackson made Iowa State's third interception of the day off Phil Horvath, giving Iowa State the ball at the Northern Illinois 28. Six plays later, the 6-foot-5 Blythe ran a fade route to the right side of the end zone and Austin Flynn lofted the ball perfectly over 5-10 defensive back Jimmy Toussaint.

Blythe, who had dropped a pass in the end zone earlier, hauled in the ball just before going out of bounds.

Iowa State's Matt Robertson returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown with 19 seconds left to secure the victory. That touchdown looked even bigger when Horvath threw a 42-yard TD pass to Dan Sheldon on the game's final play.

Blythe also caught touchdown passes of 39 and 47 yards from Bret Meyer, becoming the first Iowa State player with three touchdown receptions in a game since Damien Groce did it against Texas Tech in 1998.

Northern Illinois seemed to have all the momentum after marching 98 yards in 12 plays to take a 34-20 lead on Horvath's third touchdown pass of the day, a 9-yarder to Shatone Powers with 7:05 left in the third quarter.

A blocked punt then triggered Iowa State's comeback. Ellis Hobbs charged in to block Anthony Gallagher's kick and LaMarcus Hicks fell on the ball in the end zone with 40 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 34-26.

Flynn capped a 74-yard, seven-play drive with a 4-yard run on an option keeper, then hit James Wright for a 2-point conversion to tie it at 34 with 9:09 remaining. Jackson made his interception four plays later to set up Blythe's final touchdown.

Horvath, replacing injured starter Josh Haldi for the third straight game, finished 20 of 33 for 285 yards and four touchdowns, plus the four interceptions. Nik Moser returned the first pick off Horvath 30 yards for a touchdown to give Iowa State a 7-0 lead just 39 seconds into the game.

Northern Illinois erased a 20-7 Iowa State lead in the final eight minutes of the first half with Horvath's touchdown passes of 12 yards to Sam Hurd and 16 yards to Brad Cieslak and a 9-yard TD run by A.J. Harris.