OSU-ISU: Peterson Leads the Way

I'm pretty sure it's not always this way. A freshman goes out and makes his first start of his career in only his fourth game as a collegian, and he walks off the field as the absolute star of the game. Last year at this time Nathan Peterson was tackling Huskies, Bulldogs and Pioneers. Iowa State represented a significant step up for the 6-2, 250-pound former Tulsa Union All Stater. Guess what? You couldn't tell.

Peterson finished with seven total tackles, five of those unassisted. He had four tackles for losses, three of those sacks of Iowa State's quarterbacks, and on one of those he forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Pagitte McGee.

In his first college start, Peterson not only looked like he belonged, he looked like an All-Big 12 performer.

"It was real exciting," said Peterson. "It makes all those long practices worth it. I have to say it was mostly the secondary because he was back there looking for a long time, and I really count those as coverage sacks. The play is never over, a quarterback may go one way, but he may come back and turn to you. You have to keep going and want to get to the quarterback so bad."

"He's gotten better every game, and he got better in the open week," said Miles of his young defensive star in the game. "Really, he was pressing for the opportunity to start. He gets his first start and certainly responds well."

The success probably started with the fact Peterson wasn't nervous. His break in period of three nonconference games seemed to do the trick, and instead of nervousness or apprehension there was nothing but desire.

"For some reason I wasn't nervous," said the freshman defensive end. "I thought I might be, but I was just trying to look at it as any other game. That's how I looked at it because I've been there in the third series. Starting is different, but it wasn't that much different. I feel like I've gotten better each week and I hope that keeps up."

The Cowboys had an overall outstanding defensive performance. They used two defensive lines with Peterson, Clay Coe (nose guard), Efe Mowarin (tackle) and Darnell Smith (end) the starting group and Marque Fountain, Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, freshman Walter Thomas and Maurice Cummings the backup group. They all seemed to play well.

Peterson's first set was earned by his work in games and practice, but the coaching staff was hoping it would also shake up veterans like Fountain. After the game defensive line coach Carey Bailey felt the mission was accomplished.

Meanwhile, you can count on continuing to see plenty of Peterson. Next time maybe his parents can be on hand to check him out.

"I'm real excited," said Peterson again. "It's something that I wish my whole family could have seen, but I have a brother playing at Colorado State (Blake Smith), and I have a little brother playing in pee wee. I wish they all could have seen it, but they are with me in spirit."

They better. Parents get free tickets, but young Nathan Peterson is well worth full price admission.

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