By Anthony Hanson
AMES– A fast Iowa State offense and tough defense led the Cyclones past Ohio Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
Iowa State football recorded the win 43-10 and is 3-0 for the first time since 2012 and for the first time in head coach Matt Campbell’s eight seasons with the team.
In its path to an undefeated non-conference record, Iowa State has two wins by more than 30 points and an in-state rivalry win in the fourth quarter.
Iowa State will now take on Baylor at home to start the Big 12 conference slate. The Bears are 2-1 and were ranked No. 17 nationally entering week three.
‘Always talk about starting hot’
The Cyclones received the opening kickoff, and the offense took the field back at its home field.
A week ago, the Cyclone offensive played a “masterful” Saturday, according to Campbell. The game plan was executed perfectly, Campbell said on Tuesday, but three turnovers and two blocked punts limited the team’s total production.
It took a 99-yard drive ending in a Xavier Hutchinson touchdown reception for Iowa State to take the lead 10-7 over the Hawkeyes.
On Saturday, Iowa State picked up right where it left off in Iowa City, and its no-huddle attack needed only four minutes and nineteen seconds to move the ball 69 yards and put the Cyclones on the board first.
Offensive coordinator Tom Manning’s unit, led by junior quarterback Hunter Dekkers, rushed to the line of scrimmage for 11 plays and Dekkers capped off the drive with a six-yard rushing touchdown.
“They always talk about starting hot,” wide receiver Sean Shaw said. “That’s what we try to do since spring ball.”
Shaw caught his first touchdown of the season in the second quarter on Saturday to make the score 30-3 in favor of Iowa State.
In response to the ugly win over Iowa, Iowa State played a near mistake-free game on Saturday.
Dekkers threw no interceptions for the first time in his three career starts. The junior quarterback left the game early after throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. Dekkers completed 78 percent of his passes and was sacked just twice.
Dekkers’ early six-yard rushing touchdown was the first of five times Iowa State found the endzone against the Bobcats.
From a precision and detail standpoint, the young Cyclones still have work to do, Campbell said.
“I see all the things that are going to cost us when we need it the most,” Campbell said. “If we don’t clean those things up, we can be happy to be 3-0, but I am not.”
The only Cyclone miscues came with 9:04 left in the second quarter with Iowa State leading 24-0. Dekkers bobbled and fumbled a high snap by center Trevor Downing. It was recovered by Ohio and the only Iowa State turnover.
The Cyclones won the turnover battle four to one but also missed an extra point after the touchdown by Shaw during the 43-10 win.
‘Depth has helped us’
After the Dekkers touchdown, Iowa State kicked off to the Bobcats, and its defense returned to the field at Jack Trice Stadium. The defense promptly stopped the Bobcats and forced a three-and-out.
Entering Saturday’s game, Ohio averaged 25.5 points, 115 rushing yards and 254 passing yards per game. The Cyclone defense limited the Bobcats to 233 yards of total offense and only 24 rushing yards on Saturday.
The Bobcats came off a week two loss to No. 22 ranked Penn State. Ohio scored only 10 points against a strong Penn State defense representing the Big Ten conference.
“They [Iowa State] are better than Penn State on defense,” Ohio head coach Tim Albin said leading up to the Saturday matchup with the Cyclones.
“This defense, in some ways, is one of the better ones we’ve had,” Campbell said postgame on Saturday. “Depth has helped us for sure. The depth we have allows us to play at a really high speed with great consistency.”
The Iowa State defense made play after play. Notably, safety Anthony Johnson’s second-quarter interception helped set up the first rushing touchdown of the season for Deon Silas.
Senior linebacker Colby Reeder made a 53-yard interception return to set up a Xavier Hutchinson touchdown catch in the third quarter. Iowa State scored 14 points off turnovers in Saturday’s matchup.
Defensive linemen Will McDonald sacked Ohio quarterback Kurtis Rourke for a twelve-yard loss in the third quarter, forcing a punt by the Bobcats.
The Bobcats scored their only touchdown with 3:44 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Cyclones return to Jack Trice Stadium next Saturday at 11 a.m. to face Baylor.