Archive for Monday, October 28, 2002

Iowa State receives rude awakening

Cyclones’ dream season comes crashing down with back-to-back losses

October 28, 2002


The schedule has finally caught up with Iowa State's dream season. If only Colorado hadn't started theirs with such a nightmare.

Two weeks ago, the Cyclones and quarterback Seneca Wallace looked like giant-killers who really could win the Big 12 North division.

Even the Iowa State brass was earning praise from coaches around the conference for sticking with coach Dan McCarney through tough times.

But there were doubts that the Cyclones had the moxie to withstand a brutal schedule of four road games in five weeks against ranked opponents.

Turns out they didn't.

After cracking the top 10 for the first time ever, the Cyclones (6-3, 3-2) have lost two in a row and dropped to No. 22 after Saturday's 21-10 loss at No. 7 Texas.

Still to come are games at No. 14 Kansas State and No. 13 Colorado.

A reporter once asked McCarney if he would deal with the devil to split games against Oklahoma and Texas and move on to this week's home game against Missouri.

"I hate to sell my team short," he said.

Wonder if he'd take that offer now? The Cyclones could use a little magic to revive their season.

"We're the only team in the country to play back-to-back games on the road against top 10 teams," McCarney said Saturday.

"It's been a long two weeks. We're sick of losing."

The Cyclones have been outscored 70-13 in the last two games and Wallace has dropped from his perch as the favorite for the Heisman Trophy.

A win or big game against Texas might have put him back on top. But Wallace didn't get many chances as the Longhorns' offense chewed up 245 yards rushing and kept him off the field for huge chunks of time.

Not that Iowa State didn't play hard. Unlike the rout at Oklahoma, the Cyclones had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter after a blocked punt put them on the Texas 29.

Instead, the Cyclones came away with no points after a missed field goal.

"Winning road games is very difficult," McCarney said. "We are looking forward to going home."

While Iowa State curses the schedule makers for its predicament, Colorado (6-2, 4-0) only has itself to blame for not being in the national title hunt.

The Buffaloes started the season ranked No. 7. But as usual, early season losses quickly dashed any national title dreams.

Last year, it was a loss to Fresno State in the season opener. This year, rival Colorado State thumped Colorado in the season opener. Two weeks later, the Buffaloes got smashed at home by Southern Cal.

But after five straight wins, the Buffaloes have emerged as the class of the Big 12 North.

The Buffs demolished Texas Tech 37-13 behind Chris Brown's 149 yards rushing and a defense that stuffed Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, who led the nation in passing yards and touchdowns.

Colorado now has its own gauntlet to run.

The Buffaloes next play at No. 2 Oklahoma which just had a week off. Then they go to Missouri, play host to Iowa State and finish the regular season at Nebraska, where the Cornhuskers will seek to avenge last season's 62-36 rout in Boulder.

Colorado got through a tough stretch of games at the end of last season to win the North and the Big 12 title.

Get through another unscathed and Buffs fans will be left wondering about what could have been again.

Keep quiet, coach: Texas Tech coach Mike Leach likes to brag about quarterback Kingsbury and complain about how the national media ignores him. Too bad it never seems to do Kingsbury any good.

Every time Leach preaches from his soapbox, defenses shove the words right back in his mouth.

Last season, Leach complained how his QB didn't get enough recognition before the Red Raiders played Texas. The Longhorns slapped the Red Raiders with a 42-7 defeat. Leach did it again before the Holiday Bowl and Kingsbury threw three interceptions in 19-16 loss to Iowa.

Not one to keep quiet, Leach pumped up his quarterback again last week.

The result? Kingsbury threw a career-worst four interceptions and had a fumble that was returned for a TD in the loss at Colorado.

Leach wouldn't let Kingsbury and the Tech offense talk to the media after the game.

Huskers' happy Horne: Don't write off Nebraska just yet. Freshman I-back Nathan Horne keeps showing he's got what Nebraska needs to keep its season afloat.

Horne scored four touchdowns and rushed for 128 yards as the Cornhuskers rallied from a 31-14 third-quarter deficit to beat Texas A&M; 38-31.

Quarterback Jammal Lord got in the act too, with 159 yards on 30 carries. The 'Huskers appear to have revived their offense just in time for next week's home game against Texas.

"This was just a game where they refused to quit," Nebraska coach Frank Solich said.

Baylor still bad: Since breaking its 29-game Big 12 losing streak with 11 points in the final two minutes against Kansas University, Baylor has been outscored 119-10. The Bears were shut out in two straight games, and had a scoreless streak of nearly 139 minutes.

Daniel Andino kicked a 33-yard field goal to beat Kansas on Oct. 5, and the Bears didn't score again until he kicked a 34-yarder in the second quarter of Saturday's 44-10 loss to Kansas State.

The Bears have lost five straight homecoming games.

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