Cyclones take advantage of West Virginia defense


Tyler Coe

Hunter Dekkers throws a pass against West Virginia on Nov 5

Anthony Hanson, Sports Reporter

AMES — Facing the Big 12’s worst scoring defense meant an opportunity for Iowa State to end its five-game losing streak Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

Iowa State and its struggling offense took advantage of West Virginia’s defense and seized the opportunity to record its first Big 12 win of the season.

“I thought we executed,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “That’s the best we’ve done in all three phases.”

Iowa State’s stellar play on the defensive side of the ball has limited Big 12 opponents all season. The Cyclone offense, however, could never take advantage, losing their last five games by a combined 28 points. On Saturday, Iowa State’s defense again played as advertised, limiting West Virginia to one touchdown.

This time, the Cyclones scored enough to take down the Mountaineers and gained a win for the first time since Sept. 17.

Iowa State entered the game with the best scoring defense but the worst scoring offense in the Big 12 conference. West Virginia, who allowed 34.6 points per game before Saturday, allowed the Iowa State offense to gain 391 total yards and have its best day of scoring since September.

The game was 10-7 entering the fourth quarter before the Iowa State offense rattled off three touchdowns in the final quarter. Iowa State finished ahead of the Mountaineers 31-14. Freshman running back Cartevious Norton became an answer to Iowa State rushing woes by scoring his first two touchdowns of his career, both in the fourth quarter.

Norton, who has made carries in four games during his opening season, took the field at 100 percent for just the second time in his career, according to Campbell. On Saturday, Norton tallied his second consecutive career high in rushing yards.

Campbell and Iowa State opened up the playbook on the offensive side with the backfield battling injuries. Running back Jirehl Brock started Saturday’s game along with Norton but went down after a four-yard rush and would not return to the game.

“When you get the confidence from your offensive coordinator who believes in you every play, it’s easy to go out there and just play so free,” Hutchinson said. “When you can have both things working on all cylinders you just become a dangerous offense.”

Iowa State quarterback Hunter Dekkers attacked the West Virginia defense with multiple designed runs to the outside. In the first quarter, wide receiver Jaylin Noel took an end

Cartevious Norton bounces a run outside on Nov. 5 against West Vriginia. (Jacob Rice)

-around from Brock. The trick play set up an Iowa State field goal and the first points of the day.

Xavier Hutchinson recorded 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown. The Cyclone receiver passed his own Iowa State record of single-season receptions by reaching 87 receptions in Saturday’s game.

Deon Silas found open running room for a pair of long runs in the fourth quarter. His 38-yard rush in with 14:43 to go was the second longest by an Iowa State running back all season. Both runs set up touchdowns for the Cyclones.

Silas was the second Iowa State ball carrier earning a career-high in rushing yards. He finished with 77-yards on six carries.

The Cyclones scored touchdowns in three straight drives in the fourth quarter to earn themselves a momentum-changing win. Iowa State will play three more Big 12 conference games, including two on the road against top-25 teams.

“Having a fourth quarter like that is huge going into next week,” Dekkers said.