"We were prepared to win this football game, it just happened to be on the road," ISU head coach Paul Rhoads said. "We did not talk about the streak. We addressed it before the season started and did not bring it up again. We have run the ball well three games in a row, and if we continue to do that, we will have a chance to win."
The victory marked just the third time an ISU head coach won his road debut since World War II. Clay Stapleton and Johnny Majors were the others.
The Cyclones struck first after a solid return from David Sims and a Kent State personal foul gave ISU good field position at the Golden Flash 38-yard line. Austen Arnaud completed three-straight passes to Marquis Hamilton to move the ball inside the 10-yard line. However, the ISU offense got bogged down and had to settle for a 20-yard Grant Mahoney field goal for an early 3-0 lead.
ISU stopped KSU on its first possession, forcing a punt. However, ISU's Austen Arnaud fumbled on the next play, giving the ball back to the Golden Flashes. KSU took advantage of the Cyclone mistake, as Spencer Keith hit Dri Archer on a 44-yard touchdown toss on its next play to take a 7-3 lead.
ISU bounced right back with an impressive 10-play, 69-yard drive to retake the lead at 10-7 with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter. Facing a 3rd-and-17 at the Golden Flash 22-yard line, Arnaud found Jake Williams, who made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone for his first career touchdown.
Jesse Smith forced the ball loose from a Golden Flash runner to give ISU the ball back inside Golden Flash territory shortly after Williams' score. A few plays later, Arnaud scrambled in from nine yards out, his second rushing TD of the season, to improve the Cyclone lead to 17-7 with 2:52 left in the first quarter.
Another costly KSU mistake helped the Cyclones pad their lead to 24-7. ISU's Mike Brandtner punted the ball where it was touched by a KSU player when it landed. Zac Sandvig fell on the ball at the Golden Flash 33-yard line to once again set ISU up with great field position. Three plays later, Arnaud recorded his second touchdown scamper with a 3-yard run at the 12:42 mark of the second quarter.
Mahoney later tacked on a 37-yard field goal to help the Cyclones hold a 27-7 lead at the break. ISU's defense allowed just 28 yards on 17 carries in the opening period.
After ISU forced the Golden Flashes to punt on their opening series of the second half, the Cyclones let Alexander Robinson go to work. Robinson rushed for 57 yards on a 9-play, 81-yard scoring drive capped off by a Robinson 15-yard touchdown run up the middle to give the Cyclones a 34-7 lead with 10:10 left in the third quarter.
Both teams struggled offensively for the majority of the second half until KSU converted a touchdown after a Josh Lenz fumbled punt return. Keith hit Derek McBryde on an 8-yard fade route to make it 34-14 Iowa State with 6:43 remaining in the game.
Williams finished the game with a career-high 51 yards on four catches and James Smith paced the Cyclone defense with eight tackles.
"We have a very happy football team," Rhoads added. "There were some demons that needed to be exorcised, as far as winning on the road, and we took care of those. We took care of those because we had a good week of preparation."
ISU returns home next week to face Army (Sept. 26) in a 6 p.m. kick.