Cyclones hope to bounce back from defeat

Jeff Stell

Iowa State gets another crack at a winning season and a chance to be bowl eligible when the Cyclones take on Missouri tomorrow night at Jack Trice Stadium.

The Cyclones will be trying to bounce back from last week’s Homecoming disaster when Texas A&M handed Iowa State a 30-7 defeat. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

The Cyclones are 5-2 and only a victory away from their first winning season since 1989 and postseason play, which the Cyclones haven’t experienced in more than 20 years.

Last week the Cyclones had the opportunity to achieve both tasks but were dominated by the Aggies in front of a large crowd. ISU Head Football Coach Dan McCarney is happy with the way his team has reacted to the loss.

“It’s a new week and a new challenge for this football team,” McCarney said. “Most teams in the nation have at least one bad Saturday, and we had ours and hopefully it’s the last one. I like the way the kids came back to meetings and practice, not depressed or disappointed, but just extremely upset with the way we played. This game is a real good test of character.”

The Tigers have lost two games in a row and sport a record of 2-5. The Tigers present a tough assignment for the Cyclone defense, as they’ll bring multiple formations into the contest.

“Their offense creates a lot of problems, so this is a big, big week for our defense,” McCarney said. “I’ve seen formations on film that I haven’t seen in 25 years of coaching. They do it all, but they don’t do it on every snap, but they do it enough where you better be able to line up and adjust.”

“You’ll see some formations where they’ll have five receivers and there will be others where they line up three receivers behind each other. They work on it all year and we only get five days to prepare for it, so it’s a major challenge.”

The Tigers have been starting redshirt freshman Darius Outlaw at quarterback in their last three games and McCarney is impressed with Outlaw’s play.

“Darius Outlaw is probably the best third-string quarterback in the country, and he’s now a starter,” McCarney said. “He’s very athletic and has made some major improvements over the last three games. He can turn a bad play into a good one with his feet or his arm.”

The Cyclones high-flying offense was grounded in the loss to the Aggies. The Cyclones were averaging over 400 yards of total offense a game but only managed 239 in the loss.

Tiger Coach Larry Smith isn’t putting much stock in the Cyclones’ lackluster effort last Saturday and points to the Cyclones’ senior leadership as a reason he thinks they’ll come back strong.

“They’re a veteran team,” Smith said. “They basically have 23 seniors on the team and you can tell the difference. They’re not a complicated team, but they play hard.”

Tiger standout defensive end Justin Smith agrees that the ISU offense features a lot of trouble for a defense. ISU runningback Ennis Haywood is the leading rusher in the Big 12 at 119.5 yards per game and quarterback Sage Rosenfels is 18th in the nation in total offense.

“I see a team that can score quick,” Justin Smith said. “They have a new running back (Haywood) that has stepped in for Darren Davis. We’re going to have to play four quarters of football.”

Last season the Cyclones held off the Tigers for a 24-21 win in Columbia. That was a night game, and the Cyclones have enjoyed recent success when the sun goes down.

“We got to be ready for a 15-rounder,” McCarney said. “It’s going to be a full, physical game like it was down in Columbia last year. We’re 6-1 in our last seven games at night and I’m hoping we can continue that streak this week.

“We just got to make sure we channel our frustration from the A&M game the right way and get ready for Missouri.”