Anthony Johnson’s interception a sign of progress throughout defense

Anthony Johnson’s career at Iowa State has been focused around his consistently solid play in the defensive backfield.

That didn’t include an interception, at least until Saturday. In the 45th start of his career, it finally happened for Johnson.

“I still don’t know if there’s many people playing better than Anthony Johnson,” coach Matt Campbell said after Iowa State’s 43-10 victory over Ohio.

Johnson put his vertical leap on display for Cyclone fans, catching his first career takeaway through the air and helping his team to a 30-3 lead at halftime.

The St. Petersburg, Fla. native, who returned for his final season of eligibility in 2022, was always known for his stout coverages as a cornerback.

It’s a credit to Johnson, and the staff, for preserving those qualities and expanding on his game as well as how it is utilized.

“In some ways, this defense is one of the better ones we’ve had, from across the board,” Campbell said. “Depth has helped us, for sure. We’re playing a lot of really young guys – we’re playing a lot of guys. When you’re able to do that, I think you’re able to get your guys the ability to be their best in some critical moments.”

The Cyclones have forced eight turnovers through three games – something that’s been heavily sought after in recent memory for the team.

Colby Reeder picked up his second interception of the season on Saturday, as well – one of four the unit collected as a whole on the afternoon.

It’s been billed like this maybe all four games, but it will be a tougher matchup in seven days.

Iowa State’s defense will be tasked with stopping Baylor next week for a chance at a 4-0 start in Ames for the first time in two decades.

Johnson will be front and center, staring down the opposition to try and make more of the plays that fans have seen this year.

The only thing more extraordinary might be a win.