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Iowa State 24 ... at Connecticut 20

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Sep 16, 2011


Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Iowa State at Connecticut


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 3 - Iowa State at UConn

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Sept. 16 Iowa State 24 … Connecticut 20
CFN Analysis: This was a terrific coaching performance by the Iowa State staff to overcome some big early problems with the passing game to pull off the win. The defense kept the Cyclones in the game, Steele Jantz settled down after throwing three picks and getting banged up and helped off the field, and Darius Reynolds was magnificent with four catches for 128 yards and two scores. There wasn’t too much of a ground game with just 101 yards, but in this game, it was enough to help balance out the attack and occasionally settle things down. With Texas and the Big 12 slate coming up next, the turnovers have to stop. The Cyclones were already 114th in the nation in turnover margin coming into the game, and then they gave it away three times to go along with 11 penalties for 91 yards.

The Huskies can’t throw the ball a lick. Inefficient over the first two games, the passing attack got even worse against Iowa State with Johnny McEntee completing only 13-of-30 passes, but they went for 188 yards helped by Isaiah Moore and his tremendous day, catching eight passes for 143 yards. Turnovers were a problem with three killers, and the inability to run effectively against a mediocre Iowa State defense was a big issue going forward. UConn won under Randy Edsall by running the ball on everyone, and 112 yards isn’t going to cut it in a few weeks after facing Buffalo and Western Michigan.

(AP) EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- Darius Reynolds had 128 yards receiving and two second-half touchdowns to lead Iowa State to a 24-20 win over Connecticut on Friday night and a 3-0 start for the first time since 2005.

The Cyclones overcame a 10-0 UConn lead and a slow start from quarterback Steele Jantz, who threw interceptions on three of his first four passes.

Jantz finished with 200 yards passing, and threw a 20-yard touchdown to Reynolds with just over 9 minutes to play that provided the winning margin.

Reynolds had given the Cyclones their first lead at 14-10 on a trick play when receiver Josh Lenz took a pitch from running back James White, rolled left and found the senior wide open behind the defense for a 40-yard score.

Scott McCummings, one of UConn's three quarterbacks, ran for a touchdown and threw for another for the Huskies (1-2) and receiver Isiah Moore caught eight balls for 143 yards.

Iowa State (2-0) at Connecticut (1-1) Sept. 16, 8:00, ESPN2

Here’s The Deal … Iowa State and Connecticut both took part in unexpected outcomes in Week 2, but for very different reasons. The Cyclones, just seven days removed from escaping Northern Iowa, shocked rival Iowa in overtime, 44-41, in a Cy-Hawk game for the ages. The program has now won consecutive games in which it trailed in the fourth quarter, showing head coach Paul Rhoads that his kids are loaded with heart and a no-quit attitude.

The Huskies enter Week 3 on an entirely different emotional spectrum. They played miserably in Nashville Saturday night, bowing to a weak Vanderbilt squad, 24-21. Connecticut and new head coach Paul Pasqualoni are facing some serious issues on offense that need to be addressed in a hurry. If the reigning Big East champions have a prayer of defending their title in 2011, they’ll need a sudden turnaround before league play begins in a few weeks.

Why Iowa State Might Win: Before the season started, the Cyclones biggest concern centered on the offense. Today? Not so much. The program has found its spark in QB Steele Jantz, the cool-handed City College of San Francisco transfer. Just two games in, he’s been a difference-maker in Ames, guiding Iowa State to last week’s upset with four touchdown passes and 321 total yards. The modern-day version of former Cyclones star Seneca Wallace is making everyone around him better, including RB Shontrelle Johnson and receivers Darius Reynolds, Aaron Horne and Josh Lenz. On the other sideline, Connecticut is a mess on offense as it grapples with no leader under center and incessant issues on third down.

Why Connecticut Might Win: While the offense works on its problems, the Huskies will have to rely on the play of its aggressive defense. Lost in last week’s outcome was the fact that the D produced seven sacks and a dozen stops for loss. Even as star DE Jesse Joseph works on his return from a knee injury, the unit has been stout. DE Ted Jennings has risen to the occasion for an already deep line, and the linebackers are making stops everywhere. Sio Moore, in particular, has been on a tear, registering 3.5 sacks against Vanderbilt alone. After having its way with a transitioning Iowa defense, Iowa State is liable to hit a brick wall in East Hartford.

What To Watch Out For: So who gets the ball from Pasqualoni? It might not matter since all three, Mike Nebrich, Scott McCummings and Johnny McEntee, are expected to see the field Friday night. While it would be safe to just hand the ball to Lyle McCombs, the nation’s No. 12 rusher, it would also be predictable. The last thing Connecticut can afford to do is telegraph its plans, allowing talented Iowa State linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein to zero in on stopping the Huskies running game.

What Will Happen: Without the motivation of the home crowd or a visiting in-state rival, Iowa State will drift back a bit this week to preseason forecasts. The Cyclones’ biggest challenge will be penetrating a Connecticut defense that leaves very few creases for the other team. The unit is not only deep and experienced, but it revels in its role as the fuel for the program. While the Huskies offense will remain very stale and unreliable, McCombs will provide enough pop and thunder on the ground to keep his team from dropping back-to-back games.

CFN Prediction: Connecticut 24 … Iowa State 21
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Connecticut -4.5    O/U: 44.5

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