September 1, 2014

Cyclones start strong then get run over by Bison

Paul Rhoads

Paul Rhoads

Iowa State pulled out to a 14-0 second quarter lead, then gave up 34 unanswered points to fall to North Dakota State 34-14 Saturday in Ames.

“They run a great program with a good offense and a great defense. They executed very well for the opening game of the season, When you give any team 500 plus total yards, and 300 yards rushing you’re not going to win. When you lose the turnover margin 2 to 0, you are not going to win very many football games. We’ve got a good punter as a freshman, it’s good to see him step up and have that good an outing her in Jack Trice Stadium,” according to Cyclone Coach Paul Rhoads in his postgame comments.

Rhoads says the Bison stuck with their game plan, even after getting behind early, and were able to get their offense going.

“The toll that type of that type offense began to take effect on us. It’s designed to wear you down, and it did wear us down. It got to the point where we couldn’t stop them from getting a first down,” Rhoads says.

It is the second straight season opening loss to an FCS team for the Cyclones. Rhoads says this loss is different than last year’s to UNI and they will come back. “We got a team that is better than us on August 30th of 2014. That’s what happened. You get beat by better teams in athletics, now we improve and try to better ourselves the next time we step on the field,” Rhoads says.

Sam Richardson started at quarterback, throwing for 154 yards with two interceptions. Rhoads says while there were some good and bad things, his overall play was better. He says Richardson showed a difference in accuracy and velocity on the ball than he has in the past and he says Richarson did a better job of going through his progression of receivers.

DeVondrick Nealy

DeVondrick Nealy

Center Tom Farniok got injured in the game and runningback DeVondrick Nealy says that had an impact on the offense. Nealy says Farniock is the captain of the team and makes the calls that get the offense going. “When he went out, it put a big dent in us and it went downhill from there as you could see,” Nealy says.

Nealy says an injury to receiver Quenton Bundrage also hurt the offense, but says they have to be able to overcome that. “Everything isn’t going to go the way we want it to go unfortunately, that’s the game of football. We win some, we lose some, we’ve just got to move on,” Nealy says.

He doesn’t expect the loss to keep the team from coming back ready to play again.”We’ve just got to keep the faith, everything happens for a we’ve just got to keep moving,” Nealy says.

North Dakota State extended its winning streak to 25 games. Iowa State is back home next Saturday to face Kansas State.


Hawkeyes have high expectations, UNI looking to seize opportunity

Iowa hosts UNI in the season opener for both. The Hawkeyes enter with lofty expectations but coach Kirk Ferentz says there are question marks in every season opener. “Until you really start playing games, that’s really when you find out about the personality of your team…how guys are going to react,” Ferentz says. He says they have a lot of guys who have never played before a large crowd.

Ferentz says the Panthers have played well against FBS foes because they are able to match up at the line of scrimmage. He says they also have an experienced quarterback and a talented runningback and good receivers.

Ferentz says the Hawkeyes need to find a way to slow down Panther running back David Johnson. “You stop great players by playing great team defense, and I think that’s really the key. He’s an outstanding player and it doesn’t matter how you slice or dice it, and that’s run pass or block,” Ferentz says. He says if they let Johnson get going, it’s not going to be fun.

UNI coach Mark Farley says the Panthers need to stand up physically and win the line of scrimmage. He says they can’t out-scheme Iowa, they have to outplay the person across from them for all 11 guys.

Farley says it is a great opportunity for his team. “First of all you have to embrace the hype, because there is hype to this…it’s a neat experience for them, it’s a neat opportunity, but there’s also a job to do in this process,” Farley says.

But he also wants his team to take advantage of the opportunity. “We’re all from Iowa and there’s no hidden secret. This is an opportunity to play in front people who you may not play in front of every week or may not play in front of again. Our players know that, our program knows that. So it’s who we are as a program as well as who we are individually,” Farley says.

Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls contributed to this story.

ISU looks to avoid same opening day troubles as last season

Iowa State opens the new season by hosting three time defending FCS champion North Dakota State. The Cyclones hope for a better start this season after falling to UNI in last year’s opener. “You don’t have to spend much time emphasizing how we started the season last year and the challenge this year is just as hard, just as great,” Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads says.

He says the first game can set the tone for the season, and says he probably places more emphasis on it than most coaches. He says the start of the season last year was impacted by the opening game loss.

North Dakota State enters the season with a 24 game winning streak. Rhoads says they play in a competitive league and they’ve had to have a great focus to do what they have done. “It’s nothing short of remarkable what they’ve accomplished up there in Fargo,” Rhoads says.

WDM Dowling and Cedar Rapids Xavier meet in rematch football opener

A pair of top ranked teams collide to open the high school football season as class 4A number one Dowling Catholic hosts class 3A top ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier. This is a rematch of last year’s 4A title game won by Dowling and one of several new early season matchups that were brought about by the move to district play in the eastern half of the state.

“I think we are only seeing the beginning, obviously us playing Xavier, I know City High, Iowa City West, Cedar Falls all have games in this area. So I think no only in the next two years, but probably after that you’ll continue to see it,” Dowling coach Tom Wilson says.

While many of the names for Xavier are new the style remains the same. “It’s just a tough physical, blue collar football program. It’s something that I respect an awful lot,” Wilson says.

A season opener always has a number of question marks but a key for the Maroons is the return of Iowa bound quarterback Ryan Boyle. He says that helps trying to put the new players in on offense. It is a new era for Xavier which drops to Class 3A this year. Dowling is the only team on this year’s schedule the Saints played in 2013.

Xavier coach Duane Schulte says they will be playing a lot of teams they have never played before. Even though the non district games don’t count toward the post season they still carry a lot of meaning. “When the ball is snapped, nobody is thinking ‘hey this play doesn’t matter.’ If they are, then they shouldn’t be on the field. So, even though it doesn’t count in terms of the playoff situations, there’s not a coach or player out there that doesn’t want to win the game they are playing, and I think it will be that way this year too,” according to Schulte.


Janesville enters football season with high ranking, high expectations

Janesville enters the season ranked third in eight-man. The Wildcats have plenty of experience back from last year’s team that finished 8-2 and will open on the road at Dunkerton. “We are led by 8 seniors this year and 12 juniors, so we have a lot of experience,” according to Janesville coach Dal Eastman.

He admits expectations are high heading into the season in the town and among the team. “We’ve been bounced out of the playoffs two years in a row in the first round, so right now our main goal is to get past Dunkerton on Friday night,” Eastman says.

Eastman says these teams are familiar foes. “It is a non-district game and if we are playing basketball or baseball, it’s a conference game, so there’s obviously a little bit of a rivalry there,” Eastman says.

(Reporting by Elwin Huffman KOEL Oelwein)


Drake looking to turn around last year’s loss to Grand View

A new era begins at Drake on Saturday night when the Bulldogs host Grand View. It will be the first game for new head coach Rick Fox, who took over after Chris Creighton left for Eastern Michigan. “I’m sure there will be butterflies coming out of that tunnel as the head coach for the first time, but it’s the guys that are out there on the practice field that make me feel good about it,” Fox says.

Grand View beat Drake 21-16 enroute to a 14-0 record and the NAIA championship. “Vengeance isn’t a motivator for us, that’s not something that we push. Now hey, every guy’s got pride and they want to come back and answer the call so to speak,” Fox says.

Fox is expecting another game that comes down to the end. He says they were not overlooking Grand View last year, they just got outplayed. This is the fifth meeting in a series that Fox says has become a good rivalry. It will also be the final game in the series.

Grand View is joining the Heart of America Conference next season and their entire schedule will be league games. He says being five miles apart creates a rivalry and so far every game they have played has not been decided until late. “Whenever you have next door neighbors getting together to play football, it’s going to be a rivalry,” Fox says.

Drake has 15 starters back from last year’s team that finished 6-5.


Ferentz says Hawkeyes have to prove they are better on the field

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the time for preseason predictions is over. The Hawkeyes open on Saturday against UNI and while they enter the season with high expectations Ferentz says it is time to prove it on the field. “Three out of the top 5 teams, at least in the polls I looked at, were unranked going into the season last year and ended up in the top five. That to me is college football, you just never know what is going to happen,”Ferentz says.

Ferentz says the Panthers will present a tough challenge in the opener. “They’ve got a great tradition up there obviously with their program. They’ve played very, very well, if you look back at the last five openers, they’ve played extremely well and we expect a very tough competitive ballgame Saturday,” Ferentz says.

Like the Hawkeyes the Panthers have an experienced team and Ferentz says they pose a lot of threats on offense and make you work hard with their defense.

Ferentz says the Panthers have been especially tough on FBS foes. He says in the last five openers, including one against the Hawkeyes that he says took a miracle for them to win, UNI has showed they are ready to play.

Ferentz says given UNI’s recent history there is no excuse for taking this one lightly as he says they don’t care where they are going or where they are playing, they come ready to play.

Ferentz says a veteran defensive line will need to play well to help out a new set of linebackers. “For us to have a good defensive football team, certainly our line is going to have to be productive, and do their jobs well. And they should,” he says.

Iowa’s offense made big strides a year ago and has the potential to be even better this season. He says things can change quickly, so they have to keep their foot on the gas and meet their potential to be better on offense.