AMES, Iowa — After a dominant first quarter, the Cowboys defense turned leaky for a while in defending Iowa State's run game.
Twice in the second quarter, the Cyclones rode the option to touchdowns, cutting OSU's lead to 28-20 at the half.
“We had to make some adjustments at halftime,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. “They ran the option more today than they ever have, and out of a couple different formations.
“We had to tweak a couple things and make us more sound to take that away. We stayed a step ahead the second half.”
Way ahead, with the Cyclones managing just 37 rushing yards and only 99 total yards over the final two quarters.
“Having an older defense, it gives us a great leg up on being able to make changes,” said linebacker Caleb Lavey, who finished with 10 tackles. “We've got guys who were able to tell coach Spencer what was going on. And it allowed coach Spencer to make some key adjustments.
“It was tough in the second quarter, but we ended up being able to adjust to it.”
COWBOYS REMEMBER 2011
The last time OSU played in Ames, the Cyclones stunned the Cowboys 37-31 in double overtime, knocking OSU from the No. 2 national ranking. That loss effectively kept the Cowboys out of the national title game.
At their Ankeny, Iowa, hotel on Friday night, the Cowboy defense was reminded of that game. After the regular scouting video concluded, Spencer had clips of Iowa State's 2011 overtime success shown.
“We went out there with a taste in our mouth,” said OSU cornerback Justin Gilbert. “Everybody pretty much had it in the front of their minds when we came out. Ready to play.”
CHOO CHOO GETS ROLLING
Among OSU's dueling duo of quarterbacks, J.W. Walsh is generally considered the superior runner, with Clint Chelf regarded as the better passer.
Chelf, however, showed off his running abilities Saturday, going for 85 yards on nine carries. Nicknamed “Choo Choo,” Chelf chugged for two 32-yard romps on option keepers.
For the day, Chelf ran for more yards than he passed for, finishing with 78 yards through the air.
“It's always fun watching him run the ball,” said receiver Charlie Moore. “You don't ever know what's going to happen. Is he going to do his little slow spin move?
“But he's a competitor. He likes to get out there and make plays with his feet as well as his arm.”
O-LINE REGAINS SOME SWAGGER
It hasn't been easy for OSU's big boys on offense, with a stagnant running game drawing much criticism toward the offensive line.
Saturday, they staged a breakout, clearing the way for a season-high, 342-yard rushing performance. Desmond Roland ran for a career-best 219 yards and four touchdowns. And with Chelf doing his thing, the running game was in gear like old times.
“These last few games, it's been frustrating for the offensive line in not doing as well as we wanted to,” said guard Parker Graham. “This week, I definitely think we stepped it up and showed what we could do on the ground.”