Iowa State linebacker Matt Word has been named the Big-12 defensive player of the week. Word registered 17-tackles, including two for a loss and forced a fumble in a 31-17 victory over Texas Tech. I-S-U coach Dan McCarney says the Cyclone defense has made a lot of progress the past few weeks. He says they’re playing faster, at a better speed that’s created more turnovers and allowed them to make more plays from a physical standpoint. McCarney says his team is playing with great enthusiasm right now. Iowa State is ranked ninth in the latest Associated Press top-25, the first time the program has ever been ranked amongst the top ten. Cyclone defensive tackle Jordan Carstens says growing up and seeing other programs turn around, he knew it was possible to turn things around at ISU.Carstens says the important thing is for the players to keep the ranking in perspective. He says they’re trying not to let the ranking affect them in their approach to games.Carstens says each game seems to carry more significance as they’re heading into uncharted territory when it comes to Cyclone football and being able to compete with the elite teams.