Cyclones stun Hawkeyes in 3 OT thriller 44-41


Iowa State celebrates winning the Cy-Hawk Trophy on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes 44-41. 

Dan Tracy

A three-year losing streak to Iowa ended in a three-overtime game and, of course, it was a three-point victory. The ISU student section poured onto the field in celebration as the Cyclones came out victorious, 44-41, over Iowa in the annual battle for college football supremacy in the state of Iowa.

The Lowdown

Iowa and Iowa State needed more than the scheduled 60 minutes of regulation to finish off their 59th meeting. After a 24-24 tie at the end of regulation, the teams traded touchdowns in the first two overtimes before Iowa was forced to settle with a 34-yard field goal that gave it the lead 41-38. A pair of completions to Josh Lenz and Darius Darks put the Cyclones at the Iowa eight-yard line, and on first and goal quarterback Steele Jantz ran the ball to the four-yard line.

Then, on an option pitch to the right, Darks sealed Iowa cornerback Greg Castillo with a block and running back James White sprinted into the end zone for the game-winning score.

Iowa State lost the turnover and time of possession battles and had a pair of missed field goals, but capitalized on opportunities when it had to.

“Our football team overcame unbelievable adversity. You don’t turn the ball over three times to one, twice inside your 10, miss two field goals against a football program like Iowa and win too many times,” ISU coach Paul Rhoads said.

After failing to find an offensive rhythm until the fourth quarter in last week’s win over Northern Iowa, the Cyclones started quickly driving 56 yards to the Iowa five-yard line before turning the ball over on a fumbled snap by quarterback Steele Jantz. Iowa took over at their own 18-yard line and marched down the field before quarterback James Vandenberg found wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley in the end zone, capping a 12-play, 82-yard drive.

The Hawkeyes increased their lead to 10-0 on the first drive of the second quarter with a 42-yard field goal off the foot of Mike Meyer. Iowa State answered on its final two drives of the first half with an 11-yard touchdown reception by Darius Reynolds and a 54-yard field goal by kicker Grant Mahoney.

“The thing about this team is that we don’t even flinch when we see adversity,” said ISU offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele. “Nobody even doubted that we would be able to come back tonight.”

Both teams traded punts to begin the third quarter but then Iowa retook the lead on a 20-yard field goal by Meyer. The Hawkeyes relied on Meyer again to up their lead when he booted a career-long 50-yard field goal with 3:58 left in the third quarter. Once again, however, the Cyclones responded as a botched coverage by the Iowa secondary left wide receiver Josh Lenz wide open in the end zone for an eight-yard score to give Iowa State a 17-16 lead.

Iowa State appeared likely to take a 20-16 lead but a 38-yard field goal by kicker Zach Guyer missed wide right, nullifying a 14-play, 71-yard drive to start the fourth quarter. Iowa took advantage and marched 79 yards down the field before handing the ball to Marcus Coker — who led all players with 140 yards rushing — from the one-yard line. Coker powered his way into the end zone and a two-point conversion gave Iowa a 24-17 lead.

Turning Point

Down 24-17 with 5:40 remaining, the Cyclones took over on their own 41-yard line needing a score. A 19-yard reception by Horne on third and fifteen put Iowa State into Iowa territory. Then, after a four-yard gain and four-yard loss on the ground, Iowa State was called for holding, dropping them into a third-and-20 situation. At their own 45, Jantz took the snap and fired a pass to the outstretched hands of Darius Reynolds, who came down with the catch at the Iowa 15.

Four plays later the Cyclones were faced with a fourth and one at the Iowa six-yard line and Jantz got behind pulling guard Ethan Tuftee and picked up the first down. Finally after two incomplete passes, Jantz faked a run to the left, pulled up to pass but found no open target so he spun around scrambled to the right hash mark and then threw a pass to wide receiver Darius Darks who dragged a foot in bounds for a four-yard touchdown.

Following a Zach Guyer extra point, the game was tied at 24-24 with 1:17 remaining. Iowa chose not to throw the ball downfield in the final minute which sent the game to overtime where the Cyclones prevailed and won their second consecutive game after trailing in the fourth quarter.

X Factor

Steele Jantz — Iowa State quarterback

Jantz picked up right where he left off after leading a pair of scoring drives in the final 5:37 of the season opener. After doing most of the offensive work with his feet last week, Jantz spent more time in the pocket and led the Cyclones with his army, completing 25 of 37 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball 16 times for 42 yards.

“Steele Jantz made plays as a junior college recruit and he is making them for the Iowa State Cyclones,” Rhoads said. “Some guys rise up when the spotlight is the brightest and he certainly has in two football games.”

Jantz led an ISU offense that converted on 13 of 20 third down plays and was a perfect 2 for 2 on fourth down opportunities.

“We kept focusing on the task at hand, knowing that we had to take it one play at a time. We kept doing that until someone broke and fortunately it was them,” Jantz said.

By the Numbers

2-0: ISU’s current regular season record marking the first time it’s been 2-0 since 2006.

15: Combined third and fourth down conversions by the ISU offense on 22 opportunities, a 68 percent conversion rate.

57: yards gained on a third-quarter reception by Horne from Jantz. The play was the longest offensive play for Iowa State since Bret Meyer connected with Todd Blythe for a 63-yard touchdown pass on Oct. 29, 2005 against Texas A&M.

68: Pass completion percentage for Jantz (25-of-37). Jantz completed only 45 percent of his passes against Northern Iowa.

85: Total points scored in the game, marking the highest total in the history of the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry.

151: Rushing yards for the ISU running backs. Shontrelle Johnson (108 yards on 18 carries), James White (35 on 13 carries) and Jeff Woody (eight on four carries) totaled only 62 yards combined in last week’s win against Northern Iowa.

56,085: Number of fans in attendance for Saturday’s game. The second-largest crowd to see a game at Jack Trice Stadium behind the Iowa State-Northern Iowa game in 2007 which drew 56,795 fans.

Post-game chatter

“I think it’s pretty evident he had a rough outing last week, particularly in the first half and as the game went on he certainly got better and led his team to victory there in that fourth quarter. And to me he clearly continued that today. We had a hard time with him running and passing, you name it. He just did a great job of keeping plays alive, ran the ball well and made good throws. So the credit goes to him, he did a great job.” — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on Jantz’s performance

“It was probably a downer for the kids, I couldn’t go there were too many things that were emotionally packed into this game to go there so if I would have tried to do that for them it would have been a mess, especially when you’re looking at 100 some kids and half of them are bawling because of what they just gave up for you. I’m sure a camera was rolling but it’s not going to be any YouTube fantasy I can promise you that.” — Rhoads on the emotion in the locker room compared to that of the Nebraska and Texas wins.

“I hope that means that there’s another one left on the road then,” — Rhoads on the Cyclones winning a big game at home when the last two years they’re signature wins (Nebraska, Texas) have been on the road.

“Can anybody tell me, did Connecticut and Vanderbilt go into six overtimes or anything like that to make me feel better about it?” — Rhoads on his team rebounding from a triple-overtime game to play on Friday at Connecticut who plays Vanderbilt

“Yeah quite a bit [easier]. It was actually one of those ones that you hope you don’t drop because you’re so open,” — ISU wide receiver Josh Lenz when comparing his wide open eight-yard touchdown catch on Saturday to his 26-yard sliding catch in the fourth quarter against Northern Iowa.

“Honestly I forgot all about the trophy, it was just a normal touchdown to me. I was going to celebrate and I was kind of wondering why everybody was running away from the end zone instead of running to the end zone to celebrate but I mean all of the fans coming to us, that was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life,” — ISU wide receiver Darius Reynolds on the post-game celebration on the field on Saturday.

Up next for Iowa State

The Cyclones (2-0) will travel to Storrs, Conn. for a Friday night showdown with defending Big East conference champion Connecticut (1-0). The Huskies and first-year head coach Paul Pasqualoni picked up a 35-3 win over FCS foe Fordham last Saturday. Leading the Huskies was redshirt freshman running back Lyle McCombs who ran for 141 yards and four touchdowns in the season-opening win.

UCONN is scheduled to take on Vanderbilt (1-0) on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. before hosting the Cyclones next Friday at 7 p.m.