Iowa State free safety Jacques Washington says the Cyclones did a better job of handling their off week this time. I.S.U. opens the Big 12 race at home Saturday night against Texas Tech. A year ago the Cyclones followed up their bye week with a four game losing skid.

“I think last year we kind of took the bye week off, took it as a bye week and just played around,” Washington says. He says this year they had good practices and are ready to “handle business Saturday.”

The Cyclones are 3-0 for the second straight season but last year opened the league race with a disappointing home loss to Texas.

Washington says the Cyclones need to do a better job of taking advantage of the home field this week.

He expects it to be the largest crowd in school history with both teams coming at 3-0. Washington says Texas took the crowd out of the game last year, but this year they will keep the crowd in it.

Last season the Cyclones pounded Texas Tech 41-7 on the road and in that game I.S.U. held Red Raider quarterback Seth Doege to 171 yards opf passing and intercepted him twice. He says they have to try and disrupt Doege’s timing with his receivers to have the same success.

Texas Tech coach Tommy Tubberville is familiar with Paul Rhoads’ background as a defensive coach so it is no surprise to him that the Iowa State defense has made major strides during a 3-0 start. In fact, Rhoads was Tubberville’s defensive coordinator at Auburn before he took the job at I.S.U., and says he is impressed with the coaching that the Cyclones get.

Tubberville says this is his best team in three years in Lubbock. “We’ve got more speed than we’ve had and that usually makes up for a lot of mistakes you make during a ballgame,” Tubberville says.