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
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
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.