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Football

NOTEBOOK: “X” shows his work, Rose is blooming and excitement for “what’s to come”

Nov 21, 2020; Ames, Iowa, USA; Iowa State wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson (8) catches a touchdown pass over Kansas State sophomore Defensive Back Ekow Boye-Doe (25) to make the score 20-0 during their football game at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State takes a 35-0 lead over Kansas State into halftime. Mandatory Credit: Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports

 Iowa State wideout Xavier Hutchinson can wow you with his hops, his routes and his hands.

 But his work ethic is what impresses Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell the most.

 Where did it come from?

 Mom and dad, of course. 

 “I think my parents did a really good job of telling me, ‘Nothing comes easy,’” said Hutchinson,  who notched a career-high 111 receiving yards and his fourth touchdown in Saturday’s 45-0 drubbing of Kansas State. “‘If you want something, you have to work hard for it.’ I think from an early age I started to believe that.”

 That’s quite evident now.

 Cover Hutchinson one-on-one at your peril. The 6-3, 207-pound alpha receiver from Jacksonville, Fla., has proven again and again that he’s likely to triumph in single coverage against anyone.

 Saturday, his big 3rd and 12 first down catch set the stage for the Cyclones’ (6-2, 6-1) first touchdown drive.

 His own deft 21-yard touchdown catch put ISU up 21-0 midway through the second quarter and made it clear the Cyclones could post a rare blowout win against the Wildcats (4-4, 4-3).

 “Xavier Hutchinson works as hard as any of the young men that I’ve seen work in terms of how he goes about his business,” Campbell said. “How he practices. How he prepared for the season. What his work ethic was like. And when you have great talent and then you work really, really hard at it, then sooner rather than later you have the opportunity to be a consistent football player and play to what your full potential is. I really think Xavier has done that. Tonight, obviously some great plays, but I think there’s been some huge plays along the way and his consistency at which he’s performed has been really special for the entirety of the season.”

 I other words: Flash in the pan moments are nice, but don’t cultivate a championship mentality. Taking zero plays off is what makes the ultimate goals attainable.

 Just ask Hutchinson.

 “The great part is I think we can still play a lot better,” he said. “We still have a lot more room for growth and I’m just really excited to see our team reach that full potential.”

 EVERY ROSE HAS ITS … PICK

 Cyclones linebacker Mike Rose adroitly snared his fourth interception of the season on Saturday. He’s the first ISU player at his position to do so since the great Jake Knott secured four picks 10 seasons ago. So, understandably, Rose’s continuing blossoming could become more fragrant to national media types. Just don’t expect notoriety to matter much to him, his coach, or his team. It’s how he plays that matters.

 ““I think I have been bullish about Michael really from the TCU game on,” Campbell said. “I really believe that Michael is one of the best defensive players that I’ve had the opportunity to coach. The consistency that he has played with — I don’t know if there’s somebody that’s playing as well as what he has consistently played for the entirety of the year. Now, if there is — obviously I’m not sitting there watching everybody play college football, but I sure know what he’s meant to this program and this team. He’s a special as I’ve ever been around and maybe as special as I have seen.”

 BREECE HALL, SIDELINE SIDE-STEPPER

 Hall, who turned 15 carries into 135 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday, joined a group of four backs since 1996 to total 100-plus rushing yards per game and an average of one or more rushing touchdowns through the first nine games of the season. The other three? LaDanian Tomlinson (2000), ISU’s own, Troy Davis (1996) and Tiki Barber (1996).

“I think what helps our whole team is each position group and everybody on the team, we really all just hold each other accountable and don’t let anybody slack off,” Hall said. “Whether you’re a 1, 2, 3 — whatever it is — we hold everybody accountable. We expect excellence from everybody.”

 QUOTABLE

 “(Defensive coordinator Jon) Heacock, he always says, ‘One step, one breath.’ I think that’s just how we take it, one day at a time. I think with the past couple years we’ve kind of been in a spot where we wanted to be heading into November and it didn’t end the way we wanted it to. So having the ability to reflect and figure out what we could do differently (is important). You know, it’s insanity if you keep doing the same thing and getting the same result. You just keep doing the same stuff over and over again. So just trying to change that and bring it to work from the inside out. But I think we’re all one brain right now moving together. I’m just really excited for what’s to come.” — All-BIg 12 safety Greg Eisworth

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