Cyclones search for first win with bragging rights on the line


Photo: Randi Reeder/Iowa State D

Free safety Jacques Washington celebrates during the season opener against Tulsa. Iowa State defeated Tulsa 38-23 on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Jack Trice Stadium.

Alex Halsted

Jacques Washington knows how to make a deal.

When Iowa State plays Tulsa on Thursday in the Cyclones’ first road game this season, Washington will have plenty of tickets for his friends and family to attend.

“Iowa tickets are very valuable,” Washington said with a smile. “You can get one Iowa ticket for about four road games. Those are very valuable.”

Washington has been busy trading his player ticket allotment with teammates in recent weeks, including ones from the Cy-Hawk game, to assure that about 30 or so guests will be in attendance in Tulsa, a mere 10 minutes from where he played high school football in Owasso, Okla.

The Cyclones (0-2) have a rare battle in front of them. Thursday’s game against the Golden Hurricane (1-2) will mark the third matchup between the two teams in 13 months. Iowa State won it at Jack Trice Stadium last September, but Tulsa out-did the Cyclones at the Liberty Bowl in December.

“It’s the first time in my career that I’ve played somebody this often,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “I think there’s good in that and I think there’s bad in that. You can chase tendencies too strong; you can chase ghosts a little bit too strong.”

While some of Tulsa’s roster has seen turnover, two familiar faces remain on its offense. Golden Hurricane quarterback Cody Green is 2-1 all-time against the Cyclones, which includes his time with Nebraska before he transferred.

Meanwhile, running back Trey Watts, who also lines up at receiver, possess a threat for the ISU defense with 2,406 rushing and 913 career receiving yards.

The ISU offense, with quarterback Sam Richardson’s ankle still improving, expects the same blitzes it saw last season even while the Tulsa defense looks different from what Iowa State saw in the bowl game. 

“We’ve got a grasp of what they want to do on defense just because we’ve played them so much,” Richardson said. “We’re going to get a lot of the same looks we’ve been getting. It’s new guys, new personnel, but kind of the same look we’re going to get.”

Through the first four weeks of the college football season Iowa State has seen the field just twice. Thursday’s game will put the team’s second bye to rest and begin a stretch of 10 consecutive weeks with games for the Cyclones.

With just two games under its belt and no wins to show, Rhoads’ team might be getting antsy.

“A lot of teams have played four games. We played our first game on Aug. 31, and it’s Sept. 22 and we’re still preparing for our third game,” Rhoads said earlier in the week. “Yeah, I’d say there’s a lot of antsy-ness about that.”

There is plenty of motivation for the Cyclones after the bowl loss, but for Washington, family is important, too. Washington said his father, who is a manager at an airplane company in Oklahoma, has heard plenty from Tulsa fans since Iowa State’s bowl loss.

Aside from everything else, Washington sees that as good motivation.

“I’ve got to get bragging rights for the family,” Washington said.