Cyclones Crack Top 25

By Rob Gray, Reporter

Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett (7) heads back to the sideline after throwing a touchdown pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, in Fort Worth, Texas. Iowa State won 37-23. (AP Photo/LM Otero)


By Grant Burkhardt

AMES, Iowa — Another milestone.

Nothing to see here.

It’s a blur, not a stopping point.

That was the Iowa State football team’s overarching reaction to being ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll — at No. 25 — for the first time in seven years.

The rankings came out early Sunday afternoon, about 18 hours after the Cyclones stunned then-No. 15 (Associated Press) and No. 13 (coaches) TCU, 37-23, to notch their first Big 12 win of the season.

So how did ISU junior linebacker Jeremiah George — who was 13 the last time his team graced any top 25 poll — learn of the news?

"The greatest social network we have right now: Twitter," he said. "It’s special, but it’s only a steppingstone. There’s so much potential, I think, this team has. I know this coaching staff has so many expectations for us and we’re the kind of team that we’re not going to put a ceiling on what we can do in this 2012 season."

The Cyclones (4-1, 1-1) haven’t been ranked since being tabbed No. 23 on Oct. 1, 2005.

It’s been 10 years since they started a season by winning as many as four out of their first five games.

"We motivate each other," said ISU wide receiver Josh Lenz, who caught a single-game career-high three touchdowns from new — again — starting quarterback Jared Barnett in Saturday’s win, while also zinging a scoring pass to Ernst Brun on a trick play. "We want to be the team that people want to upset and we’ve been striving for that since I got here and since (Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads) got here."

Here, in six days, will be another crucible at Jack Trice Stadium.

That’s when No. 6 Kansas State (fifth by coaches) comes calling, in a nationally-televised 11 a.m. game to be broadcast on FX.

The last four meetings between ISU and the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0) have been decided by one possession.

"In their favor," Rhoads noted when asked about the tightness of the recent matchups. "We’re hoping we can have it this close. I think (Kansas State), because of what they do overall — offense, defense and special teams, is a team that can compete with any other style of team in this league. And certainly right now the one that comes to mind is West Virginia and what they’re doing with points and all that."

Rankings won’t help combat those well-rounded things.

In other words being No. 25 is nice, but nothing more.

"It’s another step in the progression, but it’s a small step and we probably have not much sight on that as we continue with week-to-week preparation and an opportunity to play against a team that might be one of the favorites to win the Big 12," Rhoads said.

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