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Iowa State holds off Iowa 9-6

Associated Press Modified: September 8, 2012 at 7:33 pm •  Published: September 8, 2012
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photo -   Iowa State's Jake McDonough (94) hugs Jake Knott after Knott intercepted an Iowa pass during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa State won 9-6. (AP Photo/Conrad Schmidt)
Iowa State's Jake McDonough (94) hugs Jake Knott after Knott intercepted an Iowa pass during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012, in Iowa City, Iowa. Iowa State won 9-6. (AP Photo/Conrad Schmidt)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Hawkeyes didn't let Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz beat them like he did a year ago.

The Cyclones instead turned to their defense to carry them to a second straight win over Iowa.

Jantz threw for 241 yards and the game's only touchdown on Saturday and Iowa State beat the Hawkeyes 9-6 for its first win in Iowa City in 10 years.

Jake Knott's interception with 1:11 left sealed the win for the Cyclones (2-0), whose defense held Iowa without a home touchdown for the first time in this rivalry game in 34 years.

"Two teams that just hung around, persevered, waited for the opportunity to win a football game," said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, who is now 20-20 with the Cyclones. "(Knott) decided to go win the football game."

Iowa State was held scoreless in the second half and had three turnovers inside Iowa's 20-yard line. But the Hawkeyes (1-1) could only muster a pair of short field goals in the lowest-scoring matchup between these in-state rivals in 24 years.

James Vandenberg was 20 of 42 passing for 236 yards and two interceptions for Iowa.

"It's a collective thing, and we'll just have to keep working hard. But I'm not discouraged. I think our guys, they are playing hard, they are working hard. They never quit," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said of the Hawkeyes' offense.

But after looking terrible all day, Iowa's offense sprung to life in the final two minutes.

Fittingly, the game turned on its final mistake.

Vandenberg drove Iowa to Iowa State's 32-yard line with three straight completions. But he floated one over the middle and Knott tipped the ball and brought it in to give the Cyclones their first win in Iowa City since they beat the Hawkeyes 36-31 in 2002.

"To do that after 59 minutes of football, with our backs against the ball, momentum clearly in their favor and then have the presence of mind of settle and find it and intercept it. You don't make better plays than that in this game," Rhoads said of Knott.

Vandenberg, who threw 25 TD passes in 2011, has none through two games this season. Iowa's only points Saturday came on field goals of 23 and 21 yards from Mike Meyer.

Iowa State looked as though it was set to put away one of the ugliest games in this rivalry's history late in the fourth quarter.

It would only get uglier from there.

Jantz drove the Cyclones to Iowa's 2-yard line by converting on a pair of key third downs. But on third-and-goal with 3:23 left and Iowa State leading 9-6, Jantz threw an interception to Hawkeyes linebacker James Morris, who returned it to midfield.

Not surprisingly, Iowa did nothing with the pick.

Vandenberg misfired on four straight passes, the last incompletion coming when Don Shumpert dropped a pass that if completed would have been good for a first down.

Iowa's receivers dropped plenty of passes, and Iowa State made a lot of mistakes as well.

It's just that the Hawkeyes couldn't do much with those Cyclones' miscues.

Jantz and James White muffed a handoff and Morris recovered at the Iowa State 21 midway through the third quarter. Vandenberg then connected with massive 6-foot-7 tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz on a pair of key completions to help get Iowa deep inside Cyclones territory.

But Keenan Davis was ruled out of bounds at the 3-yard line on what appeared to be a touchdown. Fullback Mark Weisman then dropped a potential TD pass, and Iowa's Mike Meyer hit a 21-yard field goal to cut Iowa State's lead to 9-6 with 14:06 left.

"Obviously you're hopeful that you have the touchdown go your way. But I'm sure he did step out, so they put the ball back out there and just have to adjust to that situation," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "That's a makeable situation that, we didn't get it done."

Jantz had four touchdowns in last season's 44-41 triple-OT win over Iowa in Ames. He threw two interceptions on Saturday, but his defense picked up time and time again.

"Any time the defense plays like that, we have a good chance of winning. Just can't say enough about them," Jantz said. "Obviously we had some turnovers and some mistakes, it's a huge win for us and I can't stress it enough, the defense just did a huge, huge job for us."

The Cyclones could only muster a 9-3 lead at the break.

It felt like it should have been much bigger than that.

Jantz completed his first 10 passes, including a 5-yard TD pass to Aaron Horne on the game's opening drive. But Ernst Brun dropped a would-be TD pass and Iowa State was forced to settle for Edwin Arceo's 22-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Still, that lead would prove to be big enough to stand against Iowa's woeful offense.

Through two games, the Hawkeyes have mustered just one touchdown and six Meyer field goals.

Iowa State's defense had a lot to do with that futility on Saturday.

"Whether it was break up passes or getting tackles, it was a great team defense. They played as 11 guys," Rhoads said.