"It was a good win overall," said Cyclone coach Dan McCarney afterwards. "I was proud of the kids. We played a lot of people. We took care of business and got some big plays. We challenged our kids to make some big plays and big plays in the kicking game, which we did. We returned a punt for a touchdown, forced a fumble on a kickoff and went 10-for-10 on all of our kicks. We'll take that any time out."
"Now we've got to step up our preparation, intensity and focus now going into the Iowa State-Iowa game this week." The Hawkeyes edged host Miami (Ohio) Saturday afternoon to set up the annual in-state clash. McCarney has been impressed with what he's seen in Iowa and is predicting another in a recent line of memorable games.
"They're just an outstanding football team," he said. "I watched most of that game on television. We have broken down the Akron game. That was a complete mismatch from the first snap of the game on. They're an outstanding football team and are more physical than they've been in the past. The wide receivers were very impressive in that game today and (Brad) Banks was playing much better than he did anytime I saw him play last year. It's going to be an excellent football game."
But first thing was first for ISU, getting through 60 minutes of Tennessee Tech. The Cyclones jumped all over their opponent with 20 points in a span of under eight minutes of the first quarter. They went on to grab a 37-6 halftime lead, getting points on defense and special teams to go along with 261 total yards of offense.
Todd Miller returned a punt 60 yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter, then Steve Paris snatched a Robert Craft interception and returned it 24 yards for another score early in the second quarter.
"I thought we made a solid effort, but there were some things that we could have done better," said defensive tackle Jordan Carstens. "It's always good when you can score on defense and special teams. It takes pressure off of the offense and adds to their scoring."
Quarterback Seneca Wallace sealed his team's impressive performance by leading two third-quarter touchdown drives. Jamaul Montgomery became the beneficiary of two touchdown passes from Wallace, hauling in a 47- and 16-yarder that gave ISU a 51-6 advantage.
Wallace finished with 230 yards passing and three touchdowns on 12-of-19 completions.
By doing so, Wallace felt that the offense sustained its momentum into game-week preparation for Iowa.
"We wanted to make sure that when we came out in the second half, that we came off the field confident and had things polished up going into next week," he said.
Another area that McCarney's team can build on is a solid effort in the kicking game. Tony Yelk booted a 45-yard field goal and short-yardage man Adam Benike added kicks of 22 and 24 yards while being perfect on seven PATs.
"We're real happy with that," McCarney said. "There is not a night we leave (the practice field) and we're not kicking field goals. I'm not about to give up on those two guys, but I'm not about to back off my expectations for them either. It's nice to see them come through 10-for-10 tonight and 3-for-3 on field goals. Hopefully that's the way it can go on the rest of this year."
Yelk felt a sense of relief after exorcising the demons of five consecutive missed field goals dating back to last season's Independence Bowl.
"Anytime you go out there, perform and do what you're asked to do, it's always a relief and good feeling. I felt confident coming into it, but the bottom line was that I was still 0-for-2 from long range. It was nice to knock one through today."
Starting tailback Hiawatha Rutland cleared the 100-yard marker for the second consecutive week. He carried 17 times for 138 yards and one touchdown before making way for reserves Mike Wagner and Brian Thompson.