One game. One victory. One play. One drive.
Sometimes, all it takes is one. Iowa State got its first victory of the season Thursday night, overcoming a 14-7 deficit late in the first half to roll to a 38-21 victory over Tulsa. Next Thursday, the Cyclones start Big 12 play by hosting Texas. For Iowa State, the stakes and the importance of that nationally televised game changed with one win.
"I promise you, next week's worth of practices will be completely different than the last month's have been," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "Everyone will have a little more bounce in their step now."
After losing to Northern Iowa and Iowa to start the season, the Cyclones couldn't afford an 0-3 start. When Tulsa took a 14-7 lead on a touchdown pass that should have been an Iowa State interception, the game and season momentum was nonexistent on the Cyclones' sideline.
Then sophomore quarterback Sam Richardson and junior running back Aaron Wimberly helped turn the game around. Wimberly, a junior-college All-American whose speed has been the talk of the team since spring practice, returned the kickoff 32 yards then had a 24-yard run to move the ball to the Golden Hurricane 31.
Richardson completed the 8-play, 66-yard drive by completing a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis West with 15 seconds left on the first half clock. Richardson stood tall in the pocket and took a big hit before making the throw.
"That was a huge momentum boost, to come into the locker room 14-14," Rhoads said.
The Cyclones' surge continued into the second half with a 24-point run resulting in a 31-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Wimberly, who had 10 carries in the first two games, finished with 19 attempts for 137 yards. He's the first Cyclone running back to break the 100-yard barrier in a game this season. Iowa State entered the game averaging 113 yards rushing and allowing 213 yards rushing per game.
"That is what we should be," said running back Jeff Woody, who had three short-range rushing touchdowns.
Thursday night, the Cyclones rushed for 179 yards and limited Tulsa to 86. In last season's Liberty Bowl loss, the Golden Hurricane rolled to 317 yards on the ground.
"To hold a team to less than 100 yards rushing – especially with their returning talent – is a big statistic," Rhoads said. "We were embarrassed by the amount of rushing we gave up in the Liberty Bowl and one of our primary goals as a defense every week, but certainly tonight, was to stop the run, and we did a very effective job of doing that."
A Different Type Of Receiver
Baylor has two players on the Biletnikoff Award watch list. Senior Tevin Reese is the Bears' most experienced receiver. This week, junior Antwan Goodley was added to the watch list.
At 5-foot-10 and 225 pounds, Goodley is built more like a running back.
"I'm trying to bring a new style to the wide receiver position," Goodley told the San Antonio Express News. "A lot of people haven't had a chance to see me play, so I feel that what I have done shows that I can play."
In three games, Goodley has 14 receptions for 370 yards and four touchdowns to give the Bears another option in addition to Reese.
"They've done well and done exactly what we expected them to do," Baylor coach Art Briles said of his two receivers. "Antwan might be a little bit of a surprise to some people, but when you are behind Kendall Wright and Terrence Williams, you aren't going to get a lot of playing time. But now, it's his time and he's a really good football player who fits exactly what we do offensively."
Running Clock Debate
Last Saturday's college football action featured a few lopsided games where the losing team was greatly overmatched.
The fourth quarter of Miami's 77-7 victory over Savannah State was shortened to 12 minutes and there were disputed reports that the fourth quarter of Louisville's 72-0 win over Florida International was played with a running clock.
That was the background for some questions for Big 12 coaches. (Journalistic aside: With just four games scheduled for this week, the media on the coaches' teleconference Monday were searching for story angles; the blowout/running clock question is an example.)
Baylor coach Art Briles' team is averaging 69.7 points per game and defeated Louisiana Monroe 70-7 Saturday.
"I hope I would never on the other (losing) side having to agree to a running clock," Briles said. "That's usually the losing team that wants to just move on.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads was asked about the options of having the clock continue running in a blowout situation.
"My philosophy on that is I would be in favor of a 70-point lead and I would agree to have a running clock if that's what the other team wanted," he said.
Looking For Solutions At K-State
Kansas State resumes its season Oct. 5 when it takes on Oklahoma State in Stillwater. The Wildcats are 2-2 and 0-1 in Big 12 play following their 31-21 loss at Austin last Saturday. How K-State has played in its first four games is uncharacteristic.
The Wildcats have committed nine turnovers while forcing just four, their defense is giving up 185 yards rushing per game and the opposition has the overall edge in time of possession. The bye week has provided the team a chance to find the reset button.
"A lot of people needed this bye week to get their heads together," wide receiver Tyler Lockett said. "Just to be able to relax and just think about the future of what we're trying to get to this year and everything we're trying to accomplish."
"We've lost sight of the fundamentals of how we're supposed to play this game," sophomore defensive tackle Travis Britz said. "We're known to be hard-working, tough-nosed football team and we lost sight of that."
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen after reviewing the tape of his team's 37-0 loss to Maryland:
"Believe it or not, there are some things on that tape that resemble football. We have talented running backs that can run and catch. We have guys who can do it and they are trying. If we can get a little better then we can get some confidence and then, hopefully, it will steamroll and we can start scoring points and winning games. You have to believe it's going to happen, otherwise it will not happen."
Oklahoma State J.W. Walsh on the Cowboys' opening Big 12 play at West Virginia:
"This year, every time we've traveled, we've handled it well, we've traveled the right way. We've treated it like a business trip, and with the leadership we have on the team, I think we'll continue to travel with success."
Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard on the Sooners' game at Notre Dame:
"You don't want to define a season by one game, but this game could point our season in one direction or another We all realize the magnitude this game will have on our entire season."