The Iowa State Cyclones had their first touchdown of the season called back by a penalty, but then found the endzone on their next two drives to take a lead they wouldn’t give up in a 27-10 win over Northern Illinois at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads said they came out ready. He says it was an outstanding win against a very good program and he felt they started how they prepared through an outstanding training camp.
Rhoads says after the good start first-game mistakes creeped in and there were too many turnovers. The young Cyclone defense forced three interceptions and Rhoads was pleased with the way they handled the Husky offense. Rhoads says he was very nervous in the last couple of days of preparation as Northern Illinois does a lot of things with motion and the scout team did that well. Rhoads says he was not confident the defense would play so well after seeing them against that scout team.
Senior quarterback Austen Arnaud’s 53-yard race up the field on the Cyclone’s first drive was called back on a motion penalty and I.S.U. then missed a 44-yard field goal. Arnaud brought them back after a missed Huskie field goal on an 11-play, 68-yard drive that he topped off with a scoring run from two yards out. Arnaud also threw a couple of interceptions, which Rhoads says hurt his overall performance.
Rhoads says Arnaud was “inconsistent” and missed some throws he did not miss last year. He says Arnaud made some good decisions and then made some bad tosses. Arnaud agreed he made a bad throw on one of the interceptions near the goal line, and says they ease off after building a 17 point lead.. He says he made a dumb decision against the defense and the offense overall kind of relaxed a little bit.
The Huskies got back within 10 points, but Arnaud led the Cyclones on another scoring drive. He says they kind of got back on track after Northern scored. Arnaud says it has been kind of their characteristic to have a lull in the middle of games and they want to change that. He says once the got the ball leading only 17-10 they decided the wanted to score and would score. Arnaud finished 27-26 with 265 yards and the two interceptions. He also ran for 45 yards. Alexander Robinson ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
Iowa State travels to Iowa a week from Saturday for the annual in-state showdown with the Hawkeyes.