Cyclone Defense Continues to Struggle


By KCRG Sports

AMES, Iowa — The flag always seems to find Iowa State true freshman cornerback Nigel Tribune.

Right or wrong, it happened again in Saturday’s 58-27 loss to No. 19 Oklahoma State — a pass interference call that helped set up the Cowboys’ fourth touchdown and a 28-7 lead.

“I felt like it was a bad call,” said Tribune, whose overall game has impressed Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads. “We (Tribune and receiver Brandon Shepherd) kind of made contact and tangled our feet, but I was playing the ball.”

That ability, flagged or not, has set Tribune apart on the practice field and in games.

And, finally, he got a payoff.

Tribune soared for an interception — the first of his career — at the ISU seven-yard line as Oklahoma State tried to drive for a touchdown on its first second-half possession, while nursing a 28-20 lead.

It was just the third pick by the Cyclones this season, who are minus-five in turnover margin in consecutive blowout losses to Baylor and the Cowboys.

Tribune tried to make it an even bigger play, but while attempting to sweep toward the strong side of the field, a defender tripped him up at the one-yard line and the offense went three and out.

“Rookie mistake, I guess,” Tribune said. “Just caught the ball, adrenaline running, wasn’t really playing attention.”

Rhoads can live with those types of rookie miscues.

It’s why he and defensive coordinator Wally Burnham elected to start Tribune beginning with the Texas loss, despite his youth.

“A young man that continues to grow up,” Rhoads said. “He gets out of that grasp, he gets the corner turned and gets out of that and he’s probably going to get a decent amount of return yards. You’ve got to have a short memory as a cornerback at any level and I think he’s getting there. … He was pretty excited about the intercept. Good for him.”

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