Iowa State bounced back from two straight last-second losses to down Baylor 24-10 Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. The win broke an 11-game losing streak in Big 12 Conference play and coach Paul Rhoads says the players haven’t stopped working to improve.
Rhoads says they started the season off and got to 3-3 and had two “gut wrenching defeats”, but he says they have not had a bad week of practice in preparing yet. “I don’t know if in seven games in a season I’ve been around a football team that continues to prepare like ours does,” Rhoads says. He says it is a credit to the players that they keep working at improving.
Rhoads was asked if this game was their best overall effort so far this season.
He says it probably is when you factor in the offense, defense and kicking game. Rhoads says he was disappointed with the way they finished up the fourth quarter offensively and with the kicking game as they left some points on the field. But overall he says it was the most complete game they have played. Cyclone kicker Grant Mahoney missed field goal attempts of 30, 35 and 50 yards.
The Cyclone defense picked off three Baylor passes and has played well the last three weeks. Rhoads says it’s a matter of “mindset and attitude.” Rhoads says they call it shedding skin like a snake as he says when a snake grows it sheds it skin. He says the defense has to quit living in the past if things go wrong, as he says they are good players and are showing it.
Starting quarterback Austin Arnaud bruised his throwing hand in the first half of the game and tried, but was unable to throw the ball in the second half. Freshman Jerome Tiller took over for Arnaud and ran for a touchdown.
Tiller says he didn’t even know Arnaud was hurt and just went into the game when they told him to go in. Tiller says he was not nervous coming into the game. Tiller says it was just a relief to get in the game and play and says it is a lot like practice and he has played in other games, so it wasn’t that much different. Rhoads says Arnaud should be back at practice this week once the swelling goes down in his hand.
Iowa State travels to Nebraska this week with a 1-2 Big 12 record and a 4-3 record overall.