“Competitive” Cyclones just keep battling

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Coach Paul Rhoads said Monday that he continues to discover things about his 2014 team.

When asked to share the biggest things he has learned – without hesitation – Rhoads said “They’re competitive.”

They keep working at it. There is a “we-can-get-it-done” mentality.

Indicative of that attitude is that three of the Cyclones’ best offensive drives this fall came after significant adversity.

  • Against 20th-ranked Kansas State, the Cyclones fell behind 13-0 early. What followed was a nine-play, 85-yard scoring drive that got ISU back in the game. Sam Richardson hit 5-5 passes and the run game averaged nearly seven yards per attempt on the drive.
  • At 21st-ranked Oklahoma State, the Cowboys opened the second half with a kickoff return for a TD, widening their lead to 14 points. Iowa State responded with an 11-play, 71-yard scoring march to make it a seven-point game.
  • Against No. 7 Baylor, the Bears built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. ISU’s response was an 11-play, 92-yard scoring drive that cut the lead in half. It was the first time BU had allowed points in the opening quarter all season.

Rhoads also noted this team’s desire to be coached and the fact they’ve continued to improve each week. He said the credit goes to the players.

“I told them that ‘coaches yell and scream and do all that to motivate you, but it rarely works,’” Rhoads explained. “It has to come from the players.”

Saturday vs. Toledo, the Cyclones showed a resiliency in the second half and this time it was rewarded with a win.

“It was a lot of fun to watch them in the second half (vs. Toledo) as they drew a line in the sand,” Rhoads said.

Bouncing back has been a season-long storyline and it’s one worth savoring.

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