Dan McCarney's Big 12 Teleconference

Iowa State coach Dan McCarney spoke with the conference media Monday morning via teleconference two days after his Cyclones beat Texas Tech 31-17 to climb to ninth in this week's AP poll. Here are some of the highlights.

Opening comments:

"I want to thank the Big 12 for naming Matt Word defensive player of the week. He played very well on Saturday and we're proud of our victory over Texas Tech. They're an excellent football team, were everything that we thought they were going to be and then some. Coach Leach has done a fantastic job with that program. It was 3-3 at halftime and we came out and made some real big, important plays. For a team that was averaging over 40 points in the last three games that they've played, we held them to 17 points and it was a real good defensive night for us.

"Oklahoma is again a national championship caliber football team. They're 30-2 in their last 32 games. Bobby Stoops, who I know very well, has done a marvelous job with that team and program. They're loaded. We've watched tape since yesterday and haven't found any weaknesses yet. No question they're one of the real premier teams in all of college football. They beat an outstanding Texas football team that always has great talent and is well coached by Mack Brown. We know we're going to have a real tough challenge going down to Norman this week, but are looking forward to it."

on if Saturday's run put signature on Wallace's Heisman campaign:

"He amazes us frequently with what he's able to do, but it's more than just any one play or one game. When the game's still up for grabs and it's a tight football game, that last fourth quarter drive when we had the ball and kept it for about nine minutes, it was a 16-play drive that went 80 yards and Seneca was 6-for-6. He just quietly goes about his business, hits every pass and at that time iced the victory for us. The scramble was a great play that he made, but his consistency and the way that he elevates the play around him is something that's always there on our team."

on Iowa State's being ranked in top 10 for first time in school history:

"It beats the heck out of bottom five, that's where we started. It's so early in the season right now. At the end of the season (where you're at) is when it's really meaningful. But anything that adds to the credibility and respect of trying to get this program straightened out is good. Iowa State's never been in the top 10 in the history of the University. That's part of the legacy and tradition that we're trying to build with this program."

on avoiding any scheduling flaws in future of playing Oklahoma-Texas, Kansas State-Colorado back to back:

"We hope so. We've known about the schedule for a long time, as we all do. But you'd hope that when the dust settles down, it would fall to where you wouldn't have to go four out of five on the road like that in the Big 12, especially with the places we're going. We've known about it, but just don't waste any time talking about it now and losing any sleep over it. There isn't anybody in the country that's going to go on a stretch of places and teams that we are in the next several weeks, so we're trying to get ready for it."

on Mizzou's Brad Smith having some success against Oklahoma this season:

"Some of the things are a little bit similar and some that are very different from what we're doing with our offense. Brad Smith is a tremendous player and I haven't seen a redshirt freshman better in the country yet. He's got to be one of the best in the country. But some of the things he did and success he had, we don't do with our offense. Yet I still see an Oklahoma defense that is one of the best in college football.

on influence of Stoops brothers on Sooners:

"The thing that you always see with Oklahoma is, not only do they have really outstanding players, but they play with that same intensity and tenacity and courage that their head coach (Bobby Stoops) and defensive coordinator (Mike Stoops) played with when they were at Iowa. They bring that to the table every time. It's hard to find first downs, yards and score points."

on tailback situation between Mike Wagner and Hiawatha Rutland:

"We'll start Wags this week. He's had over 100 yards two games in a row. As I mentioned in post-game, Hiawatha's been bothered a little bit by a sprained ankle. I think he'll be back close to 100 percent, if not at 100 percent, this week. But Wags has earned it. Both of them will play. We've got to do anything we can to make some first downs."

on stellar play of defense in recent weeks:

"They have made progress. We sure haven't been sensational or dominant all the time. Florida State and Iowa, in the first half, moved the ball and sometimes at will against us. But we're getting better and playing faster. That doesn't mean you run faster, but we're just playing at a better speed with our defense.

"We're moving up in the turnover ratio standpoint, which is always real, real important with any football team. We're making more plays from a physical standpoint, with not as many drag downs. I like the way our kids have come on. They're playing with great energy, excitement, emotion and are having fun playing the game. We're sure going to get a test this weekend with a great Oklahoma offense."

on what staff originally thought when watching Wallace on tape:

"I don't know what other tapes they watched. But the tapes and evaluations we made of Seneca we saw exactly what we wanted to see. It was not a situation where you had to dig through a lot of tape to evaluate Seneca. We saw some great things immediately and were just shocked that there was not a long list of coaches and universities recruiting him.

"He threw for over 2,000 yards and was very effective throwing from the pocket and outside, which he is right now. He's pretty accurate either place and he's always had the magic feet and ability to make someone miss in the open field. He believes in his heart that he's a thrower first and runner second, so he's got a lot of faith, trust and confidence in his arm."

on areas which Wallace has improved on as second-year starter:

"In a much better year-round program he's physically developed. He's gotten bigger, stronger and has filled out more. That's helped his confidence. He's learned from 12 starts last year. A year ago he had not had any experience going into our season opener. Now he's gained a lot of experience. When you play the way he does, you gain so much trust from the people around you and your teammates. They believe in him and know he's the leader. But he takes the field every day knowing this is not a one-man show around here. He's only as good as the supporting cast. Whether that's true or not, that's the way he approaches it."

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