Archive for Sunday, October 31, 2004

Defensive TD sparks Cyclones

October 31, 2004


— Most defensive linemen don't return a fumble for a touchdown during their entire football careers.

Iowa State's Brent Curvey has done it twice in two weeks.

Curvey, a 6-foot, 300-pound sophomore tackle from Houston, gobbled a Brian Luke fumble in the second quarter and rumbled 30 yards into the end zone for the Cyclones' only touchdown in Saturday's 13-7 victory over Kansas University.

"He seems to always be around the football," Dan McCarney, now in his 10th year as the Cyclones' head coach, said. "I've never had a lineman have two returns for TDs before."

In last week's 26-25 victory at Baylor, Curvey returned a fumble -- also by a quarterback -- 65 yards for a score.

Iowa State, the only team in the Big 12 Conference that failed to win a league game last year, has won two straight and has designs on the title of the up-for-grabs North Division. The Cyclones have North front-runner Nebraska on Saturday in Ames.

"We're just glad to be in this position," ISU linebacker Brandon Brown said. "Tonight we'll have a little celebration, but tomorrow we'll be right back at it. The confidence is there, and we're executing and doing the right things."

Kansas didn't score until 3:04 remained.

"Our defense was very confident, and I never sensed any doubt in them," McCarney said. "When you play defense you have a chance of winning any game in the Big 12."

Iowa State also received a boost from freshman walk-on place-kicker Bret Culbertson, who kicked his first two career field goals that proved to be the difference.

"I had no idea I'd be playing this year," Culbertson said. "I just thought I'd walk on and see what I could do to help the team. I was a little nervous before the game, but during the game I was fine."

Until Saturday, the two kickers Culbertson replaced had made only three of 11 field goals combined.

Now the Cyclones are riding a wave of euphoria so high that with a 4-4 record they're talking about playing after the regular season ends. With three of their last four at home -- Kansas State is the only road trip -- the Cyclones conceivably could attain the six victories necessary to qualify for a bowl game.

"Anything is possible," McCarney said. "We've got momentum now, and the North Division is wide open. If we keep improving every week, we have a chance."

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