On Sept. 16, Reynolds proved Rhoads right. Reynolds almost single-handedly lifted the Cyclone offense to a 24-20 win over Connecticut to propel the team to 3-0.
"He's an exciting, explosive player and he needs to continue coming up like he is right now," Rhoads said.
During a game where ISU was stuck in neutral for most of the night, Reynolds came through time and again. He recorded four receptions for a career-high 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Reynolds, who was slowed early in the season because of a broken toe, made a play on nearly every single ISU scoring drive. He hauled in a 48-yard reception on a fly route to set up the Cyclones' first touchdown. Then he sneaked behind the secondary on a reverse pass and caught a 40-yard touchdown.
Finally with the game on the line, Reynolds jumped over two Connecticut defenders on his way to scoring the game-winning touchdown, from 20 yards out.
"When we needed him to make the plays tonight he came up big," said wide out Josh Lenz, who threw the reverse pass to Reynolds.
The Cyclones needed more than Reynolds to overcome three first quarter interceptions, 11 penalties and an early 10-point deficit. After allowing a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, the defense kept the Huskies out of the end zone the rest of the first quarter despite Connecticut starting in ISU territory three times in the first 15 minutes.
The defense made plays early and Reynolds made them late to secure an undefeated non-conference season for the Cyclones.
--The Iowa State defense played a big role in the Cyclones' 24-20 win over Connecticut on Sept. 16. After allowing 104 yards in the first quarter, the defense only gave up 239 yards the rest of the way.
And the longer the game went, the more opportunistic the defense became, recording three turnovers, which ISU converted into 10 points.
"Our defensive football team, very substantial effort on their part to keep us alive and keep our football team confident," coach Paul Rhoads said.
--The Cyclones 3-0 for the first time since 2005.
--ISU is now 13-1 under Rhoads when allowing fewer than 24 points.
KEEP AN EYE ON: DE Jacob Lattimer -- Lattimer didn't do too much in the first two games, but he is starting to play like the pass rush threat he was at the end of last season. He only recorded one tackle against Connecticut, but he hit Connecticut QB Johnny McEntee as he threw a pass, which floated right into the arms of DT Stephen Ruempolhamer for an interception.
LOOKING GOOD: The ISU kickoff and punt-return teams are already in midseason form. In fact, the Cyclones may have one of the best return teams in the nation. Josh Lenz turned what should have been a fair catch into a 13-yard punt return, and Shontrelle Johnson had a 35-yard kickoff return. Johnson would have scored on the play if he wasn't tackled by the kicker.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Iowa State QB Steele Jantz needs to protect the ball better. He threw three interceptions in the first quarter. Through three games, Jantz has six picks. He's made a lot of plays to help the Cyclones start 3-0, but they won't stay undefeated much longer if Jantz keeps throwing the ball away.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've got enough gray hair already, but we are working on adding to it. We've played 180 minutes-plus of football, and we've played every second of it with games on the line and rode it right to the end." -- ISU coach Paul Rhoads
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Darius Reynolds had his first 100-yard receiving game as a Cyclone against the Huskies. He recorded a career-high 128 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
--LB Jake Knott finished with 11 tackles against Connecticut. It was his 10th career game with 10-plus tackles.
--DT Stephen Ruempolhamer notched his first career interception and fourth career fumble recovery in the win over the Huskies.
--QB Steele Jantz sprained his left foot late in the first half. He returned to the game and is expected to be ready for ISU's next game against Texas on Oct. 1.
--K Zach Guyer, who handles extra points and short field goals, hit his first career field goal. It was 36-yard kick.