Southern hospitality:Aggies rough on opposition at home

Jeff Stell

The ISU football team will be making a trip into a hostile environment inside a large, packed stadium when they take on No. 24 Texas A&M at College Station Saturday.

The Cyclones have already been in that position once this year at Nebraska and are hoping for much better results in front of 80,000 Aggie fans at Kyle Field Saturday.

Three weeks ago, the Cyclones traveled to Lincoln and ended up on the short end of a 48-14 whipping. Lincoln is one of the toughest places to play college football and the atmosphere at College Station is every bit as jacked up.

ISU head coach Dan McCarney last took a team to Kyle Field in 1997 and lost 56-17. The Aggies are 66-7-1 at home in 13 years under head coach R.C. Slocum.

“It’s [Kyle Field] very similar to Lincoln,” ISU head coach McCarney said. “It’s a big, noisy crowd that is right on top of you. They’ve added seats since the the last time we were there in 1997, and it’s bigger and louder from what I hear.”

The Cyclones were crippled by a horrible start in Lincoln as they fell behind 21-0 early and trailed 41-0 at halftime.

Quarterback Seneca Wallace was on a roll entering the game, but had his third pass of the game intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Wallace tossed another interception in the first quarter that set up another Husker score.

“I want to come out ready to play [Saturday], stay consistent, and not make those type of mistakes that I did in Lincoln,” Wallace said.

Wallace is in his first year of Division I football after two years at the junior college level. ISU tailback Ennis Haywood feels Wallace may have gotten a reality check in Lincoln and is a better quarterback because of it.

“Now I think he really knows what the Big 12 Conference is about because you can talk about it but you have to be on the field to know what it’s about,” Haywood said.

“He’s focused and ready for anything after that. That didn’t do anything but get him ready for the rest of the season.”

Defensively, the Cyclones are also hoping for a better start than in Lincoln where the Husker option attack drove it down their throats.

“You can’t come out of the blocks slow,” ISU linebacker Matt Word said.

“I think we can learn from what happened against Nebraska. It can definitely help you next time.”