2:00 PM ET, October 22, 2005
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa State's "second season" is off to a rousing start.
Needing something positive after starting 0-3 in the Big 12, the Cyclones forced five turnovers, made some big plays on offense and beat error-plagued Oklahoma State 37-10 on Saturday.
"It's a lot of weight off our shoulders," defensive back DeAndre Jackson said.
Iowa State (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) had been expected to contend for the North division championship after sharing the title a year ago. But after winning its three nonconference games, Iowa State had lost twice in overtime and at home to Baylor in the Big 12, leaving the Cyclones reeling and their fans grumbling.
So the players said they were putting the first six games behind them and starting over.
One down, four to go.
Bret Meyer passed for one touchdown and scored another and Bret Culbertson kicked three field goals to lead the Cyclones, who had not won at home since beating Iowa on Sept. 10.
"It was awesome," running back Greg Coleman said. "This team has been climbing too many hills not to get over this one."
Oklahoma State (3-4, 0-4), however, is still in a rut. The Cowboys committed seven turnovers in a 62-23 loss to Texas A&M a week ago and didn't take any better care of the ball in this one.
Quarterback Al Pena was responsible for all five turnovers, throwing four interceptions, coughing up a fumble and mishandling three snaps. All his interceptions came on consecutive possessions in the second half, ending any chance the Cowboys had of getting back into it.
"I'm not trying to simplify what happened out there, but it's real easy for me to stand back and see what's going on," OSU coach Mike Gundy said. "We were moving the ball in the second half and just continued to turn it over. You don't give yourself a chance."
Iowa State converted the final two interceptions into touchdowns to break it open. The Cyclones also came up with an interception in the end zone when Oklahoma State was threatening to cut into a 23-10 lead.
"We can't hold our heads down because if we do that, the rest of the season is down the drain," OSU defensive end Victor DeGrate said. "We've just got to keep going as a team, keep fighting, have faith in our teammates and things should come around."
Jackson's interception early in the fourth quarter gave Iowa State the ball at the OSU 28. Meyer promptly hit Walter Nickel for 27 yards, then bulled his way into the end zone on the next play to make it 30-10.
A little more than a minute later, LaMarcus Hicks made his second interception of the day and returned it 16 yards to the Cowboys 48, setting up a nine-play drive that Ryan Kock capped with a 5-yard TD run.
"The coaches were getting on us about finishing the game, finishing the deal," Jackson said. "We made plays here and there, but for the past three games we haven't been able to finish the games.
"So that was the biggest thing going into this game, finishing, taking advantage of opportunities and let's go get the ball, fly around to the ball."
Meyer fired a 12-yard touchdown pass to Nickel on the game's first series after Jackson returned the opening kickoff 59 yards to the Oklahoma State 41.
Oklahoma State came right back with Bruce Redden's 27-yard field goal and Julius Crosslin's 4-yard touchdown run for a 10-7 lead. But the Cowboys didn't reach Iowa State territory again until late in the third quarter and that's when they began to unravel.
On first-and-goal from the Iowa State 9, Pena tried to hit D'Juan Woods on a fade route along the left sideline in the end zone. With the inside position, Hicks leaped to make the interception before tumbling out of bounds and after a review, the play stood.
"The corner made a great play," Pena said. "I threw it up, gave D'Juan a chance and he made a great play on it. Not many corners are able to do that. He guarded it pretty good."
The Cowboys' next three possessions also were ended by interceptions -- by Nik Moser, Jackson and Hicks.
"I told the defense at the Thursday meeting we needed a minimum of five takeaways and we got five," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "When we make big plays, it puts us in position to win the game."
Culbertson kicked field goals of 43, 39 and 31 yards. The 43-yarder was the longest of his career.
Running back Jason Harris had Iowa State's lone turnover, losing the ball at the Oklahoma State 1-yard line as he was headed for the end zone in the second quarter.
Harris did not play after that and McCarney turned to former walk-on David Brown as Coleman's backup. Brown, a senior who had never carried the ball before Saturday, finished as the Cyclones' leading rusher with 77 yards in 15 attempts.
"It was nice to see him take the opportunity," McCarney said. "He's a player favorite and today it looked like he became a fan favorite."