IOWA CITY — Jake Knott simply made an instinctive football play, right?
Umm, think again.
Yes, Knott used his fantasic athletic ability, but the interception that sealed Iowa State’s 9-6 victory over Iowa was more of a result of his brain than his legs and arms.
"That’s a play they ran earlier," Knott said. "We kind of knew it might come if they ran a certain way. It came with film study."
Knott even discussed the play with fellow linebacker A.J. Klein before the snap. When Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz ran the route, Knott was there to etch his name in the history books.
"I told (Knott) I loved him," Klein said. "I laid on top of him and told him I loved him and great job. I was like, ‘Let’s get off the field and go get that trophy."’
Knott has undoubtedly made the two biggest plays in the Cyclones’ young season. Last week against Tulsa, the Waukee native forced a critical fumble and turned momentum in Iowa State’s favor. Against Iowa, Knott one-upped himself.
"That’s Jake Knott for you," nose guard Jake McDonough said. "He does that game in and game out."
George makes his mark
Jake Knott will get the headlines, but ask Rhoads and he’ll probably tell you there were 11 heroes on the defense on Saturday.
One of those standouts was junior Jeremiah George. The linebacker made two crucial plays to help beat the Hawkeyes.
"The funny thing about Jeremiah George is, he is usually the guy who is out of control a little bit," Rhoads said.
"He was quite the contrary today. He was focused. He was calm."
Especially in the fourth quarter when the Hawkeyes were threatening. On the first play of the frame and Iowa at the 2-yard line, George knifed through the Iowa line and hit tailback Damon Bullock for a loss.
Two plays later the Hawkeyes settled for a field goal and 9-6 defiicit.
Later, George made another brilliant play, but this time in coverage. With Iowa driving, Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg looked for Fiedorwicz but George dove at the last second and knocked the ball harmlessly away.
"(George) was a guy who couldn’t go right or left if you told him too last year," Knott said. "Now, he’s figured everything out."
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads to the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Mike Hlas.
"How come you didn’t pick us to win today? In fact, the whole Cedar Rapids paper was O-fer."
Rhoads on safety Jacques Washington, who played well on Saturday
"He’s such a field general for our team. He is not the slickest athlete, again he hates it when I say that about him, but he’s not. But he’s smart."
QB Steele Jantz right after stepping up to podium
"Just to start off, there’s two things I want to say. The first, praise god. The second, defense."
– Iowa State didn’t waste any time making a statement on Saturday. The Cyclones took the opening kickoff and promptly marched 75 yards into the wind for a touchdown.
– James White led Iowa State with seven receptions on Saturday.
– Kirby Van Der Kamp was effective punting the football for the Cyclones, pinning the Hawkeyes inside the 20-yard line five times.
– Edwin Arceo missed a PAT, but converted a 22-yard field goal. Just before half, Arceo barely missed on a 57-yard attempt.
– Aaron Horne was productive, notching six catches for 73 yards, including the game’s lone touchdown.
– Iowa’s Anthony Hitchens had a game-high 19 tackles.
– Official attendance was 70,585.
– Iowa State held the Hawkeyes to 68 yards rushing on 28 carries.