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Cyclones seeking another 3-0 start

Associated Press Modified: September 14, 2012 at 3:48 am •  Published: September 14, 2012

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State is supposed to get only one breather this season, and it is scheduled for Saturday.

It's nothing but Big 12 tests for the Cyclones after this weekend.

Iowa State (2-0) hosts FCS school Western Illinois (2-0) in its final game before a bye week and the start of conference play. The Cyclones are seeking their second consecutive 3-0 start, winning as underdogs at home against Tulsa and on the road against rival Iowa.

"We just want to be 3-0. That's our focus. Never underestimate your opponent is like a cliche, but it's so true. We have to treat everything the same and prepare like they're going to give us their best game," Iowa State senior safety Durrell Givens said.

Givens might be right since Western Illinois hails from the same league, the Missouri Valley, as the Northern Iowa team that lost just 20-19 in Ames in the 2011 opener. But for once, the Cyclones have an opponent that most believe will struggle to hang with them.

Iowa State opened with an impressive 38-23 win over the Golden Hurricane on Sept. 1.

The Cyclones ran into a much tougher defense at Iowa last weekend.

Iowa State failed to score after halftime in Iowa City. But senior linebacker Jake Knott made the play of his career when he tipped and intercepted quarterback James Vandenberg's floater in Iowa State territory with 1:11 left, giving the Cyclones their second straight win over the Hawkeyes, 9-6.

Iowa State turned the ball over four times and gained just 101 yards rushing on 41 carries. Still, the resiliency showed by Knott and the defense likely bodes well for the rest of what figures to be a tough season.

The Cyclones start a full nine-game Big 12 schedule by hosting Texas Tech on Sept. 29.

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