Iowa State beat Texas on Saturday. I don't say that in a sportswriter way, shorthand for expressing the fact one team scored more points than another. I say that in a literal, go-outside-and-handle-your-business-the-way-Andrew-Jackson-handled-it way. The Cyclones held a 28-11 edge in first downs, out-passed the Longhorns 188-85, out-rushed them 238-119, held a 1-0 turnovers edge, possessed the ball nearly a full 15 minutes longer, and converted 15-of-24 first downs to UT's 2-of-13. And, yes, outscored them 24 to nothing.
That, simply, isn't supposed to happen, and no one was more aware of that fact Saturday night than the guy who made it so.
"I don't know how this comes across, I don't know how this comes across, but I'll say it anyway. We shouldn't beat Texas, probably. We shouldn't beat Texas, probably," Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said. "Every kid that they recruit, if I go recruit 'em, I'm not going to get 'em. I'm not going to get them. But we did, and we have twice." Iowa State also beat Texas in 2010, but that wasn't the down-to-down beating this was; the Cyclones were out-gained by 105 yards and won thanks to four UT turnovers.
Rhoads then immediately transitioned into his pitch why, at 32-51 overall and 16-41 in the Big 12, he's the right guy to lead the Iowa State football program. "Because the program's moving in the right direction. I've got great coaches and I've got unbelievable players that care and play (with) passion in the cardinal and gold jerseys that they wear.
"We've always believed, and I still believe, we have a good football team. We have played five opponents that we've lost to that had a combined record of 33-3 going into today," Rhoads explained. The Cyclones lost to undefeated Iowa 31-17, undefeated Toledo 30-23, undefeated TCU 45-21 and undefeated Baylor 45-27, with games against one-loss Oklahoma and undefeated Oklahoma State in the next two weeks. Only their 66-31 loss at 5-4 Texas Tech (with losses to TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) stands outside the top 25. "We've been playing really good football teams. We've improved in the process. We had one loss that was embarrassing to us, humiliating to us. Other than that, our football team has fought, prepared and done the things we've asked of them.
"They haven't performed at a high enough level to gain some victories over some folks like that. Today they did, in all three phases, from start to finish. Accomplished all the things we felt we needed to beat Texas: we won the turnover margin, we stopped the run, we threw and ran against their pressure, we were fantastic in the special teams, and we started fast. People questioned whether we could do that or not."