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Iowa State Daily

Cyclone defense stifles Cowboys late for first Big 12 win

Daniel Jacobi II
Iowa State’s Caleb Bacon (50) celebrates with Trevon Howard (25) after completing a sack during the first half of the football game against Oklahoma State on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

AMES — Iowa State welcomed Oklahoma State to Ames Saturday in the first Big 12 matchup of the season.

The Cyclones took care of business against the Cowboys with a promising 34-27 win to give them a 2-2 overall record on the season.

While the offense was the main star of the show in the win, the defense did its part in holding Oklahoma State to 27 points on the day.

Iowa State forced Oklahoma State to punt eight times on Saturday, as the Cyclones came up clutch, not just at the end of the game, but throughout the entirety of the game.

There were some concerning defensive drives that occurred early on, as Iowa State let up two huge plays that resulted in touchdowns for Oklahoma State.

One play was a breakout 71-yard run from Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon II, and the other came from a 60-yard pass from quarterback Alan Bowman to running back Jaden Nixon.

Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell gave his thoughts on the way the defense bounced back from giving up two big plays that ended in Cowboy scores.

“It goes back to knowing what our identity is,” Campbell said. “Things will happen, and you have to have the ability to adjust. That’s what makes great teams at the end of the day.”

Defensive back Beau Freyler secured his first interception of the season off of a pass from Bowman. Freyler had a potential interception early in the first quarter, but could not haul it in, but he ended up making it right by snatching one in the third quarter.

“It was frustrating, I was trying to make a play for the team,” Freyler said. “I told the team that I just gotta keep moving forward, lead the team and get one back.”

Freyler may have been headlined by the interception, but he also led the team in tackles (8) and had himself a pass breakup as he continued to showcase his veteran presence on the defense.

Defensive lineman J.R. Singleton collected his first career sack which resulted in a 17-yard loss for Oklahoma State. The sack was also the first of the entire game for the Cyclones.

However, things got hasty towards the end of the game, as Oklahoma State looked to rally back into the game with a late touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Iowa State’s offense was unable to ice the game away, which forced the Cyclones to punt it back to the Cowboys with time on the clock to potentially tie the game.

The Cyclone defense was not about to allow a potential comeback to a Big 12 foe, as they forced Oklahoma State to a huge fourth-and-10.

Defensive back T.J. Tampa took the game into his own hands, as he intercepted Bowman’s pass to seal the win for Iowa State. That was Tampa’s first interception of the season and it came in a big spot.

Both Freyler’s and Tampa’s interceptions were their first career interceptions.

Freyler also gave his thoughts on what it was like to see the other players on defense make plays that eventually led to a Cyclones win.

“It’s greater than any feeling I had,” Freyler said. “Just seeing everyone else have success, that’s what it’s all about. When your brothers make plays, you just gotta get excited for them.”

Quarterback Rocco Becht had himself a performance to remember, but he also gave his thoughts on the way the defense performed and how they were able to hold it down for the team at the end of the game.

“Defense was great today,” Becht said. “They had a lot of great plays. They came up big at the end to get the stop, so props to them.”

For the Cyclones, the win gave a huge boost to morale as they got their first Big 12 win in front of a home crowd to get back to .500 on the season.

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