Cyclones take the show on the road

Jeff Stell

With the postponement of last weekend’s showdown with intrastate rival Iowa, the ISU football team got an unexpected bye week.

Cyclone head coach Dan McCarney is looking forward to seeing how his team reacts Saturday at Ohio Univeristy. The Cyclones travel to Athens, Ohio to take on the 0-2 Bobcats at Peden Stadium. Iowa State is 1-0 this season following a 45-0 rout of Northern Iowa two weeks ago.

The Cyclones were ready to take on the undefeated Hawkeyes Saturday before all Division 1 college football games were postponed in order to show respect after the tragic events in New York and Washington, D.C.

“All teams in America are coming off an open week, but they have an advantage in they have two games and we’ve played one,” McCarney said. “We’re all coming out of an open week and some team will start slow and stagger into the game. We’re going to do everything we can to try and start fast, and it’s going to be real important.”

With the road trip, the Cyclones have a chance to keep two streaks going strong. They have won their last 10 non-conference games and six of their last seven road games.

Iowa State enters the game as two-point underdogs, and McCarney has openly stated no arguments with that fact. The Bobcats are 0-2 but have lost by two points at Akron and played West Virginia very close for three quarters. The Bobcats gave the Cyclones fits in a 25-15 loss in Ames last season.

“They’ve won eight of their last nine at home and have the third best rush offense in the country,” McCarney said. “They have 17 starters back from that team last year that came in here [Ames], and we had to fight our tails off to win it.”

In the season opening victory over the Panthers, the Cyclones didn’t have to show a lot, but still were impressive. Tailback Ennis Haywood and quarterback Seneca Wallace combined to rush for over 200 yards and four touchdowns.

Haywood, the 2000 Big 12 Conference’s leading rusher, broke open last year’s win over the Bobcats with a 73-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Haywood finished the game with 159 yards.

Offensive lineman Marcel Howard hopes to help lead the way for another big game from Haywood.

“Their defense is totally different than what we saw last year,” Howard said. “I remember last year we had some trouble countering their defensive attacks, but this year I think we have a good chance of dominating this game.”

The Cyclone defense already knows what offensive attack the Bobcats are going to try and utilize as they run a standard option offense. The Bobcats finished second in the nation in rushing last season.

Dontrell Jackson spearheads the option as a versatile quarterback. Jackson rushed for 864 yards last season, but struggled against the Cyclones. Jackson also passed for 881 yards and eight scores last season and his offseason improvement in this area has the Cyclone defensive backs ready for action.

“He’s [Jackson] very, very elusive,” said ISU defensive back Marc Timmons. “They run so much that his passing is a surprise. Their whole offense is basically coming back from last year so they’re very in sync in everything they do.”

Peden Stadium only houses 20,000, but it is the home opener for the Bobcats and Timmons pointed out that sometimes the smaller crowds can be just as effective as the 60,000 or 70,000 seat stadiums the Cyclones will visit in the Big 12.

“I think the smaller crowds are the worse ones believe it or not,” Timmons said. “It’s their home opener and they’re 0-2 so they’re going to be very hungry for a win and those fans wil be behind them.”