Cyclone football coach Paul Rhoads.

The Iowa State Cyclones take a 3-0 record into their Big 12 opener at home Saturday night against Texas Tech. The Cyclones have not played since a September 15th victory over Western Illinois.

Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads says the open date came at a good time allowing them to get rested and healthy and he believe they improved with the work they did. Texas Tech is also 3-0 and Rhoads says the Red Raiders feature an improved defense.

“They’re fundamentally sound, they’re great technicians, they don’t take a lot of risks. And with that and good players, you’re going to play good defense, and that’s what they’re doing right now,” Rhoads says.

The Cyclones were 3-0 a year ago and the lost their first four Big 12 games. He says a lot of players have been down this road and he says they have more maturity and experience now and he says they can either repeat history or correct it.

Rhoads believes the Cyclones have the potential to post a winning record in conference play. They’ve had three straight years of winning three conference games and they want to do more about that, and he says that comes from improving each day and then they are capable of winning five or more games.

Rhoads says that is why the home games are so important, with the environment behind them, they have to take advantage of it and execute.

Rhoads would like to see the running game improve. The Cyclones are averaging 175 yards on the ground per game.

“History shows when we run for over 200 yards, we are hard to beat,” Rhoads says. He says when you run the ball you are keeping it away from the opponent and wearing them down.

The kickoff is set for 6 p.m. Saturday.