Steady improvement has raised confidence


Iowa State’s loss at Missouri was a low point of the season. It evened the team record after ISU had opened the year with three wins. People were wondering if the wheels had fallen off the cart.

Since then, ISU has won three of four games including victories at 19th-ranked Texas Tech (41-7) and vs. No. 2 Oklahoma State.

“We’ve played better and prepared better (since Missouri),” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “We started gaining confidence when we left the field after A&M (the game following Mizzou).”

Rhoads knows it sounds strange to say the team improved in a 16-point loss to the Aggies, but it’s the truth.

“We played with them (the Aggies) after not doing that at Columbia, Mo.,” Rhoads said. “(Playing A&M competitively) helped accelerate our preparation for Texas Tech, which is still the most complete game we’ve played in three years.”

Oklahoma, a 29-point favorite, is this week’s foe. It’s another formidable challenge for the improving Cyclones.

“Our confidence has been growing by leaps and bounds in the last five weeks and Oklahoma State helped that even more,” Rhoads said.

They’ll need that confidence Saturday facing the Sooners, who lead the series by a large margin and have spent much of the year ranked atop the national polls.

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