Iowa State looks to build off stunning upset

AMES, Iowa  — It was one of those scores that had folks around the Big 12 shaking their heads in disbelief.

Iowa State, a double-digit underdog to a Texas Tech team fresh off perhaps the most stunning upset in the country in 2011, crushed the Red Raiders 41-7 on Saturday night. It was by far the biggest win over a ranked team in school history, surpassing the 36-14 blowout of Nebraska in 2002.

Iowa State (4-4, 1-4 Big 12) hadn't been within two touchdowns of any conference opponent all season, yet had no trouble against a team that snapped Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak a week earlier.

The Cyclones offense found its rhythm early under new quarterback Jared Barnett and their defense stifled Texas Tech's high-powered passing attack.

The trick, of course, will be to keep it going starting with Saturday's home game against woeful Kansas (2-6, 0-5).


"Without a doubt, it was the most complete game. Offense, defense, special teams all played at a high level," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said.

Though the final looked like a fluke at first glance, the truth is it wasn't one at all.

Iowa State simply dominated a good league opponent on the road in perhaps the best sign yet of the progress the program has made since Rhoads took over in 2009.

The Cyclones rushed for 368 yards, their most in league play since 1996, and had a pair of 100-yard rushers in James White and Duran Hollis.

White, who's gotten most of the carries now that starter Shontrelle Johnson is likely out for the season with a neck injury, gained 138 yards on 31 carries.

Hollis, a freshman who's barely seen the field this season, chipped in with 101 yards — most of which came on a 71-yard TD run early in the third quarter that essentially sealed the win.

"What I hadn't seen (Hollis) do until Saturday night was run with the aggressiveness that he did — in a game. I've certainly seen it in practice," Rhoads said. "Early in the season I thought he was running tentative...but he ran aggressive and it showed in his speed."

Barnett had 92 yards rushing, including a 13-yard touchdown to open the scoring, while completing 14 of 26 passes for 144 yards. He also avoided turnovers — a sore spot for Iowa State all season — for the second game in a row and was sacked just once.


"The (offensive) line was getting a really good push. Running backs were running the ball great, making the right reads, making the right cuts and making sure they protected the ball," Barnett said.

The Cyclones defense, which had been gashed by the likes of Texas, Baylor and Missouri, built on its solid play in a 33-17 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 22 with a stifling effort against the Red Raiders.

Beating the Red Raiders by 34 points wasn't just a confidence builder for a team that really needed one.

It brought Iowa State's bowl hopes back to life.

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