They got another one Saturday, ending the longest winning streak in major college football at 12 games with a 37-23 victory at 15th-ranked TCU.
This is the third season in a row the Cyclones (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) won on the road against a Top 25 team. And don't forget their double-overtime victory at home last year over Oklahoma State that cost the Cowboys a shot at the BCS national championship.
"I don't think they are so much upsets anymore," said Knott, the standout senior who had a late interception. "There's a lot of people now that respect us on a new level. We need to keep winning games like this to do that."
It was the first Big 12 home game for conference newcomer TCU (4-1, 1-1), which played without suspended quarterback Casey Pachall and had five turnovers.
Jared Barnett made his first start of the season and threw three touchdowns to Josh Lenz, who later had a scoring toss of his own on a trick play. David Irving, the Cyclones' 6-foot-7, 280-pound defensive end, returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown.
Iowa State, which is home against No. 7 Kansas State next week, won for only the third time in 33 road games against a Top 25 team since 1996. All of those wins have come in the last three years in the state of Texas, including Barnett's first career start last season at Texas Tech.
"It feels great, but it doesn't mean nothing if we don't come back and finish strong the rest of the season," said Lenz, who had five catches for 147 yards.
Barnett was 12-of-21 passing for 183 yards and ran nine times for 30 yards. The touchdown throws of 51 and 74 yards in the first quarter put the Cyclones up 16-7, and he threw a 1-yarder to Lenz to start the second half.
The Frogs had won a nation-best 25 conference games in a row, the first 24 while winning the Mountain West championship each of the last three seasons. They won their Big 12 debut at Kansas three weeks ago, and hadn't lost a conference game since Nov. 6, 2008 at Utah.
"You can't give up big plays on defense and you can't turn the ball over on offense," coach Gary Patterson said. "Real simple."
Dual-threat redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin took over for Pachall, the second-year starter who is suspended indefinitely after his arrest early Thursday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Pachall wasn't on the sideline after Patterson changed his initial decision to have the quarterback in uniform without playing.
The coach is scheduled to meet Sunday with TCU's chancellor to discuss Pachall, who eight months before his arrest this week admitted to police that he smoked marijuana and failed a team-administered drug test.
Boykin was 23 of 40 passing for 270 yards with one score. He had three interceptions, one on his first pass of the game before two more in the fourth quarter.
Freshman B.J. Catalon had 13 carries for 86 yards, but had two fumbles - one inside the Iowa State 5. Senior running back Matthew Tucker didn't play because of a left ankle injury.
Jaden Oberkrom had field goals of 38, 50 and 39 yards for TCU, which lost for only the second time its last 30 home games.
The Cyclones trickery came late in the third quarter when after taking a handoff on a reverse Lenz stopped and threw a 15-yard score to tight end Ernst Brun. That capped a 10-play drive aided by two personal foul penalties, including a late hit by standout end Stansly Maponga that wiped out a fourth-and-9 for Iowa State.
Still, the Cyclones never trailed after the fourth play of the game, when Barnett avoided a near turnover when he made contact with his running back on play action before hitting Lenz in stride for the touchdown.
"The play didn't start the way you wanted it do," coach Paul Rhoads said. "On plays like that, focus tends to heighten a little bit. ... He delivered a very accurate ball to end the play. Where the ball went is where the ball was supposed to go."
Steele Jantz, the senior quarterback Barnett replaced in the lineup, had one carry for 7 yards.
Despite temperatures in the 50s, Boykin was dealing with leg cramps. He stayed on the ground after rolling right and throwing a 28-yard pass to Brandon Carter early in the fourth quarter.
When Boykin returned for the next series, Irving had his interception after swatting the pass and grabbing it out of the air. The Frogs had the ball one more time, but Knott picked off a pass near the goal line and got to the 36 before running out of bounds into the Iowa State bench area.
"I had intentions of bringing it all the way back," Knott said. "I heard the sideline say get out of bounds. I made the right decision."
Yep, the Cyclones had another big victory, the kind they are getting used to having.