Saturday, September 24, 2005

It Was No Breeze for Cyclones

Iowa State lost style points and the statistical battle, but escaped West Point with a 28-21 victory over Army (subscription, so story is in comments tab). The victory raised more questions about the Cyclones, who have a showdown at Nebraska next week. Earlier, outgoing ISU athletic director Bruce Van De Velde expressed his displeasure over Army backing out of a return game in Ames in 2006.

1 comment:

dawizofodds said...

Close call for ISU

Proud Army squad pushes Cyclones to brink before falling

John Riehl
Cedar Rapids Gazette

WEST POINT, N.Y. — With cannons firing, Army cadets rushed the field behind the north end zone and started doing celebratory push-ups.

The underdog Black Knights had just taken a shocking 21-14 lead over No. 22 Iowa State last night following a 1-yard touchdown run by Scott Wesley on 4th-and-goal with 48 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Cyclones, a 17.5-point favorite and fresh off a dominating 23-3 win Sept. 10 over then-No. 8 Iowa, were under a major assault from the undersized but inspired Black Knights. Iowa State needed a new plan of attack if it wanted to leave the United States Military Academy as an undefeated team.

"I’m extremely proud of (my) football team," McCarney said. "(Army) was a team that was highly motivated and highly inspired. I told these kids at halftime, this was going to about the character and heart of this football team. I’m ecstatic about winning this game."

The Cyclones finally played it door-die in the fourth quarter with fullback Ryan Kock scoring two short touchdowns to help Iowa State escape with a 28-21 victory in a nationally televised game at Michie Stadium.

Iowa State (3-0) didn’t have the game won until 26 seconds remained after linebacker Matt Robertson and end Jason Berryman combined to stop running back Carlton Jones for a 1-yard gain on 4th-and-3 from the Cyclone 22.

Trailing by seven points early in the fourth quarter, Iowa State received the break of the game.

On 4th-and-2 from the Army 19, quarterback Bret Meyer was sacked by Cameron Craig at the 31. Craig, however, was called for an incidental 5-yard face mask, a penalty that was marked from the original line of scrimmage and gave the Cyclones a first down.

"There were so many big plays," McCarney said. "That was one call, but it was a big one. He clearly had ahold of his face mask."

Two plays later, Kock tied the game at 21 with a 4-yard touchdown run at the 11:07 mark.

After stopping Army (0-3), the Cyclones got the ball back at the Black Knight 48-yard line.

Aided by a 28-yard pass from Meyer to Todd Blythe, Iowa State took its first lead since the first quarter at 28-21 on Kock’s tough 3-yard run with 6:50 left.

Down 14-7, Iowa State needed a big play to swing the momentum in the third quarter, and sophomore specialteamer Caleb Berg answered the call, blocking an Army punt.

The ball rolled dead at the Black Knight 23.

The offense took advantage. On 3rd-and-goal, Meyer faked the ball to back-up running back Greg Coleman, then threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to the former Iowa City West all-stater. Bret Culbertson’s extra point tied the game at 14 with 8:59 remaining.

That was the sophomore Coleman’s first career touchdown.

Iowa State, with a Big 12 showdown at Nebraska next week, got the fast start it wanted before sputtering against an inspired Army team.

The Cyclones capitalized on cornerback Steve Paris’ second interception in the first two series when receiver Austin Flynn leaped between defenders and grabbed a 15-yard touchdown pass from Meyer with 5:42 left in the first quarter.

Iowa State was on its way, right?

Think again.

On their next possession, the resilient Black Knights marched 80 yards in eight plays, with quarterback Zac Dahman completing a 19-yard screen pass to Wesley for the tying touchdown with 2:22 remaining.

On the play, Dahman became Army’s career leader in passing yards.

Wesley burned the Cyclones again in the second quarter, returning a short punt by Troy Blankenship 29 yards to the Iowa State 32-yard line.

Three plays later, Dahman found a wide-open Walter Hill with a 5-yard scoring toss to put Army up 14-7 with 6:58 left in the half.

Contact the writer: john.riehl@gazettecommunications.com