Wow…Cylcone fans…can you believe it!!! I’ve seen some pretty amazing games in Jack Trice before, but this one may take the cake. It was Iowa vs Iowa St with bragging rights on the line, and all it gave us was a 3 overtime thriller, in fact, the first time in the series where an overtime was needed. It was an emotional rollercoaster that lasted over 4 hours, and when James White crossed that line, you saw the emotions of 50k+ flood on the field. It was a great moment!
I want to touch on the 5 reasons we won this instant classic.
5) The lines did a 180 degree turn. I couldn’t believe how much we were pushed around by UNI just a week before on both sides of the ball. I came in thinking this game could be worse. I was wrong!!! Our D-line got just enough pressure on Vandenberg to keep Iowa’s offense containable, but more importantly our O-line gave Steele Jantz and our running backs time and holes. At times it looked like Jantz was able to check out every route being run until he decided on which one to go with. He didn’t have to force throws all day! Kelechi Osemele is a huge man, and I think he has a bigger heart. After he went down to injury on our first drive, I thought he was done, but he came back despite being in a lot of pain and definitely not 100%. Congrats on your win KO. I’m glad you finally got em!
4) One could point out many reasons why our secondary is on the list, but I will be brief. Marvin McNutt catches only 4 for 61yrds. McNutt is the type of a receiver that you practice for all week, but you still get beat by him…well not this time. Our guys kept him from being the playmaker everyone expects from him now.
3) Marcus Coker had 140yrds on the ground in 35 carries, but he would have had much more if it wasn’t for great play by our linebackers, and in particular AJ Klein & Matt Tau’fo’ou. Every time that Coker got through the line there was a collision waiting from one of those two, and when they hit they made sure he wasn’t going any futher. Keeping Coker to short yardage rushing put Iowa in more 3rd down situations than they wanted to be in.
2) Did anyone notice who else decided to turn around about 180 degrees? Yeah you got it, Darius Reynolds, he came to play. He did exactly what we were all hoping; he used his big body and athleticism to beat up on opposing corners. I am giving a shout out to all the wideouts here. Aaron Horne gave us another big yardage day with a great 57yrd screen. Welcome back Darius Darks with a big touchdown catch and the block that got White in the endzone. Josh Lenz had a nice day at wide reciever, but he shined in the return game with 143 return yrds. That is huge when playing the field postion game.
1) Steele Jantz, or I’m thinking about just calling him Steele Nerves, gets the top spot, game ball, helmet sticker, or whatever you want to call it. The guy just flat out does whatever it takes to win. Once again he put the team on his shoulders in crucial situations and he came through…again! 3rd and 4th downs seem to be where he thrives most. I don’t want this to be the case, but it shows the determination that this young man has. He followed up a 3 pick game with 4 TDs and no picks. Looks like he’s got the jitters out of the way. I have said it in my season preview and on CyHawkThoughts. He has the ability to have the same impact/success that Seneca Wallace had.
They say that the most improvement made in a season should be seen between weeks 1 and 2. I don’t think anyone will disagree that the Cyclones did just that. Coach Rhoads had them ready to play and most importantly to play well.