Cyclone Game Balls: NIU

<b>AMES, IA --</b> Here are the three Iowa State players most-deserving of recognition after the Cyclones' seven-point victory over Northern Illinois.

WR Todd Blythe

Not many receivers in Cyclone history have started their careers in the fashion Blythe has. His three-touchdown performance Saturday in Ames gave him five in just three college games. The Indianola native grabbed two in the opening 22 minutes to stake Iowa State to a 20-7 lead over Northern Illinois.

But his third one might have been the biggest. His four-yard catch of an Austin Flynn pass in the corner of the end zone helped the Cyclones rally from a 34-20 second-half deficit.

"He's an unbelievable competitor," said head coach Dan McCarney. "He not only has talent and size, but he believes he can catch the ball and wants the ball. Some guys have the talent but not the fire inside of them. He wants the ball, wants it thrown, and will go make a play. He's just a tremendous player and his whole career is in front of him. He has a chance to be real special in this league."

QB Austin Flynn

For the second consecutive game, Iowa State saw its backup quarterback come up big when starter Bret Meyer struggled. The only difference was that this week Flynn stayed healthy. After being knocked out of the game on his team's final drive in Iowa City, the sophomore from Deer Park, Texas, saw ISU's rally through to the final whistle.

Just after Ellis Hobbs and LaMarcus Hicks helped ISU gain some momentum on special teams, Flynn led the Cyclones on an eight-play, 74-yard scoring drive.

His four-yard option run for a touchdown and two-point pass to James Wright evened the score at 34-34 with 9:09 remaining. Flynn's final numbers looked good, figuring he again split time with Bret Meyer. They could have looked even better, though. He entered the game on the previous drive and led the Cyclones on a 59-yard drive only to see Blythe drop a touchdown pass in the right corner of the end zone.

Either way, Flynn will make it difficult on head coach Dan McCarney and his offensive staff over the next two weeks, as they try to name a starting quarterback for the Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State. Given his experience in the conference and confidence gained over the past two weeks, Flynn might be the Cyclones' best bet in Stillwater.

SS Nik Moser

Just as the Cyclones needed early, Moser gave his team momentum with a 30-yard interception return for touchdown on the game's second play from scrimmage. Moser's interception of Phil Horvath helped lead to a 20-7 ISU lead and some early confidence.

Moser, who also finished with 11 tackles to rank second on the team, came up big again early in the third quarter. The Huskies had taken possession at the Cyclone 30-yard line after a nice punt return from Dan Shelden. With a 34-20 lead and ISU on its heels, Horvath and NIU went for the jugular. Moser swung momentum the Cyclones' way again by picking it off in the end zone for a touchback.

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