#11 ISU Tops Texas Tech, 31-17

Iowa State's prolific offense scored just three points in the first 33 minutes on Saturday, but that's when Seneca Wallace pulled out a play for his ever-growing highlight reel.

In front a national television audience and overflow crowd of 51,842 at Jack Trice Stadium, Wallace grabbed momentum for the Cyclones with an incredible 12-yard touchdown scramble. He rolled right and looked to pass but could find no one. But before stepping out of bounds or throwing the ball away, Wallace took off up the sideline, cut back left and got a couple of key blocks on his way to the end zone.

The turn of events in the third quarter, which also included a 79-yard touchdown reverse by Lane Danielsen, proved crucial in 11th-ranked ISU's 31-17 victory over Texas Tech.

"I did (think about throwing it out of bounds at first) when I ran over there towards the sideline," said Wallace, who added 148 yards passing to his 37 on the ground. "When I got the edge, I knew that I could get past them and had some blockers out there, I just tried to make a play. I saw on that play that I'd be able to cut back and there were only two people I had to beat.

"It helped us get some momentum and get our offense going. We needed that one big play to get us going. Once one person makes a play, we feed off of that."

Wallace's play left much of the sellout crowd in awe, including his head coach, who saw his team improve to 6-1 overall heading into a stretch of four road games in five weeks.

"I just said, ‘Score Seneca, score.' You can run that thing back 100 times and never get tired of watching it," McCarney said. "He's something special. He's got that cool, calm look about him. It's like no big thing, I just made 11 guys miss me twice out there. It's just Seneca Wallace. It looks like some guys are going to sprain ankles or hips out there trying to tackle him. He's a special athlete and has a great gift."

Danielsen's 79-yard reverse for a touchdown later in the quarter proved to be just as critical, since it came just moments after Kingsbury spearheaded a game-tying touchdown drive.

"ISU made some big plays when they had to," said Red Raider head coach Mike Leach. "Turnovers hurt us. The big thing was they executed well on key plays. That reverse play was the biggest play of the game. It was a back breaker and a good call for them at a good time."

Instead of being the shootout that many predicted, ISU's defense held up a prolific Texas Tech aerial attack and got the key plays it needed offensively down the stretch.

Red Raider quarterback Kliff Kingsbury completed 74 percent of his passes for 272 yards and one score and his team would actually outgain ISU by a 461-376 margin. But three lost fumbled and a Kingsbury interception proved to be more than enough to do them in.

"It was an outstanding defensive effort," said linebacker Matt Word, who recorded 13 tackles and forced one fumble. "We came out here and wanted to make sure we executed, hustled and tackled. We saw that a lot of teams had been missing tackles in the open field, so they were dumping it off and making big runs. We wanted to make sure we minimized those and got them down when we had them one-on-one for a tackle."

Another part of ISU's plan was to get the rushing game going early. The Cyclones did just that and would end up eclipsing their season average in rushing by 66 yards. Starting for the injured Hiawatha Rutland, Mike Wagner cleared the 100-yard barrier for the second consecutive game, rushing for 102 and one touchdown on 32 carries.

Rutland, who missed practice time in the bye week because of a sprained ankle, came off the bench to rush for 10 yards on five carries.

Wagner's added carries early in the contest enabled him to get into a groove, as he netted 55 yards on 10 carries though the opening 15 minutes.

"I'm not saying we've been struggling to run the ball, but haven't had real good production," said Wagner. "That's something we stressed a lot in practice, because if you can run the ball it makes games a lot easier. We've already got a person that can pass.

"I've got to get used to the flow of the game and see how the defense is playing. I need a little bit more plays than everyone else to get going. Hopefully I can turn it on a little faster as we get going down this stretch."

With a six-game winning streak in hand, ISU storms into a stretch of back-to-back games with Oklahoma and Texas, ranked second and third, respectively. With Florida State and Tennessee losing, it also could mean that the Cyclones will hit Norman next Saturday ranked in the top 10 for the first time in school history.

"That's going to be an amazing challenge," McCarney said. "Way back in January when we were finishing our recruiting, going into signing day and knew we were going to be playing the toughest schedule in the history of this place—if somebody would have said you were going to be 6-1 and have a chance to be 7-0 going down to Oklahoma I sure would have taken it."

But are the Cyclones truly a top-10 team? No doubt about it, says Wallace.

"Everybody's seeing us across the country now," he said. "We've had a couple of televised games and played well. Right now we're a legit top 10 team and are going to try our best to stay there."

Texas Tech fell to 4-3 on the season and hosts Missouri next Saturday.

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