SportingNews.com - College Football - Fresh off win over Iowa, Cyclones hit road to face Toledo
Fresh off win over Iowa, Cyclones hit road to face Toledo
Posted: September 21, 2007
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Coach Gene Chizik is wondering how Iowa State will respond to its emotional win over rival Iowa last week -- his first win as a head coach on any level.
On Saturday, the Cyclones (1-2) travel to Toledo (0-3) for their first road game under their new coach, and Chizik isn't exactly sure how to keep his team grounded after its last-second 15-13 win against the Hawkeyes.
"I haven't coached a team after we've won. It will be a new experience for me," Chizik said. "I hope they understand that we certainly have not arrived."
Chizik was the assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator at Texas last year when Toledo and Iowa State put on a thriller. The Cyclones needed three overtimes to beat the Rockets 45-43, and it would have required a fourth had Toledo's Chris Hopkins corralled a two-point conversion pass.
Neither team has performed up to expectations since.
Toledo finished 5-7 in 2006, its first losing season under coach Tom Amstutz in 2006. The Rockets have lost six defensive starters to injury since the season started, and they've been without senior stalwarts Tyrrell Herbert, Nigel Morris and Sean Williamson all season.
Their absence has been glaring. Toledo has allowed a whopping 49.7 points a game, third worst in the nation.
The Rockets have lost to Purdue, Central Michigan and Kansas by an average of 27 points. They've given up 20 touchdowns, the most in the country, and the Rockets are one of only nine teams to allow opponents to average more than 500 yards a game.
Numbers like that haven't been seen in ages at Toledo, which is off to its worst start since 1988.
The Rockets are viewing Saturday's game as a chance to snap their early season funk.
"We're sitting here at 0-3 and we're ready for a game," quarterback Andrew Opelt said. "We're going to fight, scratch, whatever we need to win that first game."
The status of Herbert, Morris and Williamson for Saturday has yet to be determined, Amstutz said this week. Linebacker Greg Hay, who was injured during last week's 45-13 loss to Kansas, will play against Iowa State.
"We're missing a few guys, but that's part of football," Amstutz said. "We don't use that as an excuse."
Iowa State beat the Hawkeyes without scoring a touchdown, something the Cyclones haven't done since 1948. But Iowa State's offense, which got five field goals from Bret Culbertson last week -- including a 28-yarder with one second left -- hasn't gotten untracked.
Among BCS teams, only Syracuse and Notre Dame have scored less than the Cyclones, who are averaging 14 points a game.
But last week's win over Iowa could be a turning point for Iowa State. The Cyclones, who looked terrible in home losses to Northern Iowa, of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA) and Kent State, came with added fire against the Hawkeyes.
A strong gameplan didn't hurt, either.
Iowa State used four- and five-receiver sets that kept the chains moving and the Hawkeyes off balance. Its defensive pressure forced Iowa quarterback Jake Christensen into four sacks.
"We were more physical, and we won individual battles," Iowa State wide receiver R.J. Sumrall said.
This week's game is the start of a brutal stretch for the Cyclones. They follow their trip to Toledo with road games at No. 24 Nebraska and Texas Tech, and return home to face No. 7 Texas and No. 4 Oklahoma before traveling to No. 25 Missouri the following week.
Though Toledo might loom as Iowa State's best chance for a win until November, history says the Cyclones shouldn't count their victories before kickoff.
The Rockets have won 38 of their last 43 at the Glass Bowl. Iowa State hasn't won away from Trice Stadium since beating Texas A&M in 2005. "Focus wins on the road," Chizik said. "The bottom line is that you've got to focus and execute. You've got to do the things that win every week, no matter where you play."
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Re: Toledo Update
I don't want to go off on a rant here, but the next time I see some idiot sportswriter use the word "untracked", I'm gonna have to hunt him down. The phrase is "on track" you moron. "Untracked" makes absolutely no sense, and even if it did, it would be a bad thing. "Their offense hasn't gotten untracked yet this year." Way to use that JLMC degree to its fullest extent. Probably graduated with honors from EIU.
Last edited by keepngoal; 09-21-2007 at 02:58 PM.
Re: Toledo Update
Not to refute a fellow Cyclone fan, but according to dictionary.com, untracked is used correctly in the sample sentence you provided.
Originally Posted by mjlane
–adjective 1.that is not or cannot be tracked or traced: untracked marauders of the jungle. 2.Informal. achieving a superior level of performance after a slow start: The team suddenly got untracked and began to score.
I wouldn't normally point something like this out. However, many, many journalists, broadcasters, fans, COACHES & PLAYERS use the term 'untracked' when describing on-field play. PEACE!!
Oh, and to get back to the original topic - I am fully expecting Toledo to have all of its players back for this game! I would venture to say that we will need to have improved even more this week than last week to beat them. Chizik talked about FOCUS - our guys need to make sure the EIU win is a thing of the past & come into the Glass Bowl with total focus and determination, so that we shatter all hopes that the Rockets have for a win.
"The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."