Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads hardly needs more evidence that Cyclones linebacker Jake Knott is one of the best he’s coached.
By BLAIR KERKHOFF
The Kansas City Star
But Knott keeps delivering.
On Monday, Rhoads was breaking down film of Iowa State’s 9-6 victory at Iowa and replayed Knott’s game-sealing interception.
No shock that Knott made a big play — a leaping, tipped interception that ended the Hawkeyes’ possession on their 32.
It was the read that stood out to Rhoads. Before the snap, Knott and fellow linebacker A.J. Klein talked about what might be coming in this situation. Iowa had called the same pass play three times but hadn’t gone to the area of Knott’s responsibility.
“To have the presence of mind, to talk about it before the snap and be aware of what could happen…” Rhoads said. “What he means to our team, I don’t know if you could put a value on it.”
Knott was named Big 12 defensive player of the week, but he wasn’t singled out by Iowa State in the program’s weekly awards. Rhoads said the entire defense earned the honor.
That side of the ball needed to step up. The Cyclones committed three turnovers in the red zone, and four in the game, continuing a nasty habit. Iowa State finished last in the Big 12 in turnover margin, losing 35 while gaining 24 for a minus-.85 turnovers per game last year.
“We’ve won too many games losing the turnover battle,” Rhoads said. “We can’t keep doing that.”
But with Knott’s interception against Iowa, the Cyclones gained the turnover that mattered most.
“When teams are used to losing, we as coaches have to help guide them through that.”
| Kansas coach Charlie Weis
“I’m kind of looking forward (the open date). Kansas State is a different preparation. This gives you extra time to work on them.”
| Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops on having two weeks to prepare for what is setting up as the Big 12’s first game between ranked opponents, K-State at Oklahoma on Sept. 22.
Ranking the Big 12
1. Oklahoma (1) open: Battle-tested for K-State?
2. West Virginia (2) vs. James Madison: Holgorsen said Dukes better than Marshall
3. Kansas State (5) vs. North Texas: When Sams runs, don’t blink
4. Texas (4) at Mississippi: Only Big 12/SEC clash
5. TCU (7) at Kansas: Frogs hardly tested in opener
6. Baylor (6) vs. Sam Houston St.: Slate picks up after this week
7. Iowa State (8) vs. Western Illinois: Iowa was Rhoads’ ninth victory as underdog since ‘09
8. Oklahoma State (3) vs. La-Lafayette: Horrible night in desert
9. Texas Tech (9) vs. New Mexico: Raiders playing disrespect card
10. Kansas (10) vs. TCU: Learning to win is first step
11 a.m., TCU at Kansas, FX
11 a.m., Louisiana-Lafayette at Oklahoma State, FSKC
3:30 p.m., West Virginia vs. James Madison at Washington, D.C., RootSports
6 p.m., Sam Houston State at Baylor, FCS
6 p.m., North Texas at Kansas State, FSKC
6 p.m. New Mexico at Texas Tech, FCS
8:15 p.m., Texas at Mississippi, ESPN
7 p.m., Baylor at Louisiana-Monroe, ESPN
11 a.m., Maryland at West Virginia, FX
11 a.m., Virginia at TCU, ESPN2
2:30 p.m., Kansas at Northern Illinois, ESPN3
6:50 p.m., Kansas State at Oklahoma, Ch. 4