Yelk’s role pivotal for ISU victory

Zac Reicks

On a soggy, miserable day at Faurot Field, Iowa State defeated the Missouri Tigers 20-14 behind the strong leg of Tony Yelk and a gritty effort from the Cyclone defense.

In a game where field position was of the utmost importance, Iowa State utilized Yelk’s right foot and consistently pinned Missouri deep in its own territory on punts and kickoffs.

“All in all, field position was a huge part of the game,” Yelk said. “It makes everybody’s job easier when you are doing things well.”

Head coach Dan McCarney and the rest of his staff have taken a lot of criticism over the kicking game the past couple of years and this was finally an opportunity for them to have the last laugh.

Yelk made his coaches look good by banging home two short field goals and booming six punts for a gaudy average of 49.5 yards.

“Tony Yelk was big time on his field goals,” McCarney said. “I thought he was one of the best punters/kickers in the Big 12 today and I am really proud of him.”

The start of the second half best exemplified Yelk’s big day.

With Iowa State facing fourth down at its own 36, Yelk stepped up and hit a 62-yard punt that spiraled its way to the 8-yard line and slithered out of bounds at the 2-yard line.

The ISU defense then held, and after Missouri shanked a punt, the Cyclones were in business with the ball at the Tiger 24- yard line.

“I thought my punting was real solid and I felt I hit the ball well,” Yelk said. “I had great snaps to work with from Matt Bockes and I felt I hung up there long enough for our cover guys to get down there.”

“He is making me look like I am going to have to give him two scholarships,” McCarney said.

“I have seen a few games where a punter has been that big of a deciding factor starting with Reggie Roby when I played at Iowa, and Tony had a major role in our victory today.”

In only his fifth game as a redshirt freshmen, Yelk showed that he has the mettle and determination to hit clutch field goals highlighted by the two he had in the fourth quarter of Iowa State’s win.

“The pressure is always there whether you’re a freshman or a senior.” Yelk said. “If you go out with confidence and focus the pressure shouldn’t make a difference.”