Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State 37, TCU 34: Front 7 lifts Cyclones to Big 12-opening win

Iowa State dominates up front for first victory

Iowa State linebacker Mike Rose (23) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a TCU pass during an NCAA college
Iowa State linebacker Mike Rose (23) is congratulated by teammates after intercepting a TCU pass during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. Iowa won 37-34. (Brandon Wade/Associated Press)

Iowa State’s front seven played as well as it ever has under coach Matt Campbell on Saturday against TCU.

The Cyclones’ three starting linebackers led the team in tackles in Iowa State’s 37-34 win against TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.

Mike Rose led the trio with 10 tackles and an interception in the fourth quarter that led to Breece Hall’s game-winning, 32-yard touchdown run.

Rose’s interception was one of the better plays that can be made on the field. TCU receiver Taye Barber dropped the pass, the ball hit off his knee and before the ball hit the ground, Rose dove and scooped it up to get the pick that set up a short field for the offense with 3:56 left in the game.

“No doubt that play was the game-changer,” Campbell said on the Cyclone Radio Network. “Tip of the hat to Mike. He’s a vetran and an elite player who has elite standards.”

Linebacker Jake Hummel had 10 tackles and one tackle for loss and fellow linebacker O’Rien Vance tallied seven tackles.

Up front, senior defensive end JaQuan Bailey played the best game of his life. That came after the season opener against Louisiana, which Campbell called Bailey’s best game of his career.

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Against the Horned Frogs, Bailey could not be blocked one-on-one and was the best player on the field in the first half. He recorded a school record-tying 3.5 sacks and four tackles for loss, all in the first half.

Bailey went into the game tied for the career sacks record. He made sure he was all alone in Iowa State’s record book by the end of the game.

“(The record) is a testament to my teammates and coaches who pushed me each and every day,” Bailey said on the Cyclone Radio Network. “I don’t think this is just my record. This is a defensive line record because they come in each and every day with me. I wouldn’t be where I am without their help.”

His production dipped in the second half because he saw a double team on nearly every play but he still recorded seven total tackles, an impressive number for a defensive lineman. His sack with 1:04 left in the first half was a strip-sack, and he also recovered the fumble.

“I’m so happy for JaQuan,” Rose said on the Cyclone Radio network. “It was a hard time for him last year not being able to play. He kept his head down and kept working and you just knew at some point he was going to do that. Seeing him, watching him and talking to him every day, his mindset is perfect. I’m really happy for him and it wasn’t a surprise to me, I’ll put it that way.”

Iowa State and quarterback Brock Purdy took advantage of the Bailey strip-sack as Purdy threw a touchdown pass to Darren Wilson to end the first half and put Iowa State up 16-7.

Bailey wasn’t the only defensive linemen with a big game. Eyni Uwazurike had five tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, Will McDonald had three tackles and a sack, Josh Bailey had three tackles and half a tackle for loss and Latrell Bankston recorded two tackles and half a sack.

Iowa State’s defensive line totaled six sacks in the game.

The only piece of the Iowa State defense that didn’t play well was the secondary.

TCU started the game with Matthew Downing at quarterback. He mostly struggled, completing 11 of 21 passes but at halftime, Max Duggan was inserted into the game and he completed 16 of 19 passes for two touchdowns.

Five TCU receivers had at least one catch of 20-plus yards.

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That’s an area Iowa State will have to clean up as the Cyclones host No. 3 Oklahoma next week, which just lost to Kansas State 38-35.

Luckily for the secondary, Iowa State’s offense did enough to lift the Cyclones over the Horned Frogs.

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