AMES —The following is a quote that should stand out to every Iowa State fan in the world from Paul Rhoads’ weekly Monday press conference in regards to Saturday’s 9-6 win over Iowa.
“The productivity we got out of our defensive tackles on Saturday was the best we believe in the three years and two games that we’ve coached here,” said Rhoads.
For a program that has struggled at producing defensive tackles over the course of history, those are big words and it all starts with senior Jake McDonough.
McDonough, a 280-pounder out of Urbandale, recorded four tackles (one for a loss) and a pass break-up in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.
“The development of Jake McDonough into a playmaker is what we were counting on. Not hoping for, counting on in 2012,” said Rhoads. “I think he did the best job of keeping his knees bent to allow him to remain physical throughout the end of the play. He’s been exceptional through two games at coming off of the snap and getting his hands on offensive people and pushing them back. But he was finally very good at finishing on Saturday and getting off those blocks and making plays.”
Senior defensive tackle Cleyon Laing notably had five tackles in the win as well.
McDonough came to Iowa State as a project. He’ll leave as one of the better interior linemen to come through Ames in a decade. All thanks to whom?
McDonough says it is strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight.
“Coach McKnight has us all playing to the best of our abilities right now,” said McDonough. “Two years ago, I couldn’t bend to save my life. Now I am playing my best football and I feel like I am in the best shape I’ve ever been in. You can see it all across the board.”
If McDonough plays this way for the remaining 10 games of the season, he’ll be a legitimate contender to be an All-Big 12 defensive tackle.
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