Cyclones attempt to close out season strong

Jeff Stell

The ISU football team can add to their historic season Saturday when the Cyclones host the Kansas Jayhawks in the season finale at Jack Trice Stadium.

A victory would end the Cyclones regular-season with a record of 8-3. Win or lose, the Cyclones will finish in third place in the Big 12 North and are bowl eligible for the first time since the 1978 team went 8-4 and played in the Hall of Fame Bowl.

Only four previous ISU football teams have competed in bowl games.

All of the talk of the bowl game, plus the fact that Thanksgiving break starts this weekend, could be a distraction, but ISU Head Football coach Dan McCarney dismisses that idea.

“Our focus right now is all Kansas,” McCarney said. “It’s not Thanksgiving break, it’s not the bowl game. We’re focused on Saturday.”

The Cyclones are coming off a 35-27 victory at Colorado. The Jayhawks, meanwhile, have lost three straight games. The Jayhawks lost a shootout to Texas Tech and were blown out by Nebraska and Texas.

Last season, the Cyclones traveled to Lawrence and were dealt a 31-28 defeat. The Cyclones had a chance to tie the game but Mike McKnight had a 34-yard field goal blocked with 26 seconds left.

“There’s no question Kansas is a better team than last year so we’re expecting a tough and really looking forward to it,” McCarney said.

Despite their recent struggles, Jayhawk coach Terry Allen feels his team will close the season with a strong effort.

“We have one game left and our seniors will play their hearts out, they’ll be ready to play Saturday,” Allen said. “Iowa State has done a great job this season getting themselves into a position to go to a bowl game.”

The Cyclones rank 28th nationally in total offense, averaging 416.3 yards per game. Leading the way is tailback Ennis Haywood who is the leading rusher in the Big 12, 14th nationally, at 116.3 yards per game.

ISU wide receiver J.J. Moses is third in the Big 12 in all-purpose yards and receiving yards. Quarterback Sage Rosenfels is fourth in the Big 12, and 23rd in the nation, in total offense.