Defense Had To Carry ISU's Burden Saturday

By Rob Gray, Reporter

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By Grant Burkhardt

AMES, Iowa — Jake Knott’s not pointing fingers.

Yes, the Iowa State star linebacker helped hold high-powered Texas Tech to less than half its points average in Saturday’s 24-13 loss at Jack Trice Stadium.

Sure, the Cyclone offense — with just 189 yards accrued while going three-and-out seven times — led to a draining night for the defense.

But blaming others, particularly teammates?

Not in Knott’s makeup.

“The team is a family,” said Knott, who notched nine tackles, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry as his team fell to 3-1, 0-1 in the Big 12. “If one side isn’t doing as we’ll as the other, or vice versa, then you’ve gotta pick each other up.”

The offense needs plenty of uplift heading into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. matchup with No. 15 Texas Christian at Fort Worth.

Quarterback Steele Jantz had 3 passing yards at halftime against the Red Raiders (4-0, 1-0) and finished 10-of-20 through the air for 73 yards with three interceptions, a fumble and one touchdown.

ISU Coach Paul Rhoads reiterated Sunday that Jantz and backups such as Jared Barnett and Sam Richardson will continue to compete at the position in practice.

“We’re going to put the guy out there that gives us the best opportunity to win,” Rhoads said. “And as we watch practice this week, that’s what we’ll be looking for.”

Said Jantz: “Coming off a loss there’s always added intensity. And then anytime there’s competition, that just adds to it.”

The offensive line struggled Saturday as well, allowing four sacks.

As for the running game, the Cyclones were held to 116 yards — 59 below their previous average.

Those yards came on 38 carries. Tailback James White gained 36 of them on one tote.

“They had a pretty solid defense,” said White, a junior from Dallas. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot, beat ourselves with the turnovers; gave them more chances than we gave ourselves.”

The Cyclones’ defense forced two turnovers — including A.J. Klein’s 87-yard interception return for touchdown — against the Red Raiders.

Tech enjoyed a nearly 10-minute edge in time of possession and scored 10 of its points in the fourth quarter.

“The effort was great all day long,” ISU defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said of his group. “They battled. They were positive on the sideline. They just kept battling.”

That’s the mentality.

Fingers holstered.

Goals intact.

“In talking to them postgame (Saturday), there’s two primary ways our kids break down,” Rhoads said. “One is ‘all in.’ And two is ‘Cyclone family.’ I addressed the meaning behind that breakdown as who they are and who we’re going to be moving forward.”

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