Cyclones' aim now is to give home crowd a victory

College football: With one game left at Jack Trice Stadium, Iowa State hopes to end seniors' time on a happy note

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NORMAN, Okla. — After Iowa State’s 48-10 loss Saturday at Oklahoma, the focus shifts to salvaging a win in the final home game for a proud group whose 1-9 senior season has not been what they envisioned.

“It’s very important,” senior linebacker Jeremiah George said. “A win for the seniors, a win for the home fans, and a win to help get the younger guys on track so they can remember what it feels like to win, not accepting defeat. We’re not a program that’s going to continue to have seasons like this.”

Next week’s Kansas game suddenly looks more daunting given the Jayhawks’ 31-19 home victory over West Virginia on Saturday. The win snapped a 27-game conference losing streak for the Jayhawks. Iowa State now holds the longest current losing streak in Big 12 games with eight — since a 51-23 win at Kansas a year ago Sunday.

Fall short next week, and all that is left between the Cyclones (1-9, 0-7 Big 12) and its first winless conference season since Gene Chizik’s final year in 2008 is a road trip to Big 12 outpost West Virginia.

“The top teams in this league, we are not drastically behind,” Iowa State Coach Paul Rhoads said. “Our kids realize that, but we don’t do enough things right physically or even with the mindset mentally in a situation like this to overcome that.”

With five losses by eight points or less, and two of the four blowouts one-possession games in the third quarter (including Saturday at Oklahoma), it’s easy to see what Rhoads is referring to. Still, the challenge in front of Iowa State is finishing games, and its season, in a strong way.

“Very important,” quarterback Grant Rohach said. “Love our seniors. They’re great leaders, and even being a freshman, I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”

The Cyclones have one more shot to send the Jack Trice faithful home happy — who continue to arrive to the tune of 55,617 fans per game — and avoid its first winless home slate since Jim Walden went 0-10-1 in 1994.

“A win for Cyclone fans is what’s most important right now, and we gotta do something to get it,” senior Jacques Washington said.

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