Cyclones headline Athlon's Big 12 Notebook
By Mitch Light
There are two things you need to know about Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz.
The first: He might have the most normal name in his family. Jantz’ father is named Foxx, who has a twin brother named Wolf and another brother named Stig. Steele has brothers named Truk and Brogan.
The second, and far more important to Cyclone fans: He is a winner.
Jantz, a transfer from junior college who won the job in preseason camp, has led Iowa State to a 3–0 start by making the right plays at the right time. The Cyclones have won their three games — over Northern Iowa, Iowa and UConn — by a total of eight points and have trailed in those three games a combined 10 times.
Jantz recovered from a slow start against UConn — he was intercepted three times in the first quarter — to rally Iowa State from a 10–0 deficit in the first half and a 20–17 deficit in the fourth quarter. The week before, ISU trailed Iowa on five different occasions, including twice in overtime, before winning 41–38 on the final possession of the third extra session.
Jantz, a native of Agoura Hills, Calif., has made plays with his legs as well as his arm. In the first two games, he combined to rush for 122 yards and two touchdowns. He was bottled up against UConn (negative-10 yards rushing on three attempt due in part to a leg injury suffered just before the half), but his ability to tuck the ball and run will cause problems for opposing defenses all season.
Iowa State is 3–0 for the first time since 2005 and one of only five 3–0 teams in 2011 that already has two wins over BCS conference opponents.
“The confidence continues to build as we find a way to win football games,” says Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. “I have a confident group of young men to begin with. They have to focus on improving and moving forward.”
Moving forward, Iowa State’s schedule will become far more difficult. After a week off, the Cyclones begin a five-game gauntlet that features home games with Texas and Texas A&M and road dates against Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech. In addition, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma await in the month of November.
AROUND THE BIG 12
• Kansas has allowed 45 points or more in six of its last nine games vs. BCS conference opponents. The 2011 Jayhawks rank 119th in the nation in rushing defense and total defense.
• Of the five quarterbacks who have not yet thrown an interception on the list of top 25 leaders in passing efficiency, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III and Texas Tech’s Seth Doege have the most touchdowns — eight each.
• Western Illinois had 44 total yards against Missouri last week and only one of the Leathernecks possessions lasted for more than three plays.
• Last Saturday against UCLA, Texas true freshman Malcolm Brown had what figures to be the first of many 100-yard games in a Longhorn uniform. Brown carried the ball a season-high 22 times for 1110 yards and scored the first touchdown of his career in Texas’ 49–20 win over the Bruins.
• Oklahoma State leads the Big 12 with 24 plays from scrimmage that have gone for at least 20 yards.
• Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones attempted only 27 passes in the Sooners’ win at Florida State. It was the fewest he has thrown since becoming the starter at OU early in the 2009 season.
• Texas A&M will not play a game outside College Station in the month of September for the first time since 1984.