8:00 PM ET, September 16, 2011
Rentschler Field, East Hartford, CT
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. -- The margin of victory is getting bigger for Iowa State.
After beating Northern Iowa by a point and rival Iowa by three in three overtimes, the Cyclones had a relatively easy four-point victory at Connecticut on Friday.
Darius Reynolds had 128 yards receiving and two second-half touchdowns to lead Iowa State to a 24-20 win and a 3-0 start for the first time since 2005.
"I don't think anyone picked us to win three," coach Paul Rhoads said. "Confidence continues to build as we find ways to win football games."
The Cyclones overcame a 10-0 UConn lead and a slow start from quarterback Steele Jantz, who threw interceptions on three of his first four passes.
Jantz, who threw four touchdown passes last week against rival Iowa, completed 18 of 29 for 200 yards on Friday. His 20-yard touchdown pass to Reynolds with just over 9 minutes to play provided the winning margin.
Reynolds had given the Cyclones their first lead at 14-10 on a trick play when receiver Josh Lenz took a pitch from running back James White, rolled left and found the senior wide open behind the defense for a 40-yard score with just over 11 minutes left in the third quarter.
"We just kept saying, 'We got this,'" Lenz said. "We just kept our heads up."
Scott McCummings, one of UConn's three quarterbacks, ran for a touchdown and threw for another for the Huskies (1-2) and receiver Isiah Moore caught eight passes for 143 yards, but also had a key fumble to stop a third-quarter drive.
UConn drove the ball into Iowa State territory twice in the final two minutes, but quarterback Johnny McEntee's desperation heave on the game's final play fell incomplete.
"It hurts way more than a blowout because you know you have a chance to win and then you let it slip away," Isiah Moore said.
Kashif Moore had given UConn a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter when he outleaped cornerback Jeremy Reeves on play-action pass from McCummings then sprinted down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown.
It was McCummings' only completion on three attempts.
But Jantz led the Cyclones on a 65-yard drive for the winning score.
Lentz made a diving 19-yard catch at the UConn 20, before Reynolds caught the ball over the middle, then hurdled UConn defensive backs Jerome Junior and Blidi Wreh-Wilson on his way to the end zone.
Dave Teggart tied his own Big East record for UConn, hitting two field goals of at least 50 yards. His 50-yarder cut Iowa State's lead to 14-13. He also made a 52-yarder in the first half, but missed attempts from 41 and 43 yards.
UConn also had three turnovers, including two fumbles.
Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott knocked the ball out of D.J. Shoemate's arms at the UConn 21-yard line with 7 minutes left in the third quarter, setting up a 36-yard field goal from Zach Guyer that made it 17-13.
"We've just got to keep improving every week," said defensive end Patrick Neal, who had eight tackles. "I think we've done that so far."
Shontrelle Johnson had 65 yards rushing for the Cyclones, and James White added 44 yards, including a 26-yard first-half touchdown run.
UConn opened the game with a 10-play, 57-yard drive, scoring on a 10-yard option run by McCummings. He dove in for his first collegiate touchdown, which was awarded after a video review overturned the call on the field.
Jantz was picked off on the Cyclones' first offensive play by Dwayne Gratz. But McEntee returned the favor on the very next snap. He was hit while throwing and nose guard Stephen Ruempolhamer grabbed the ball out of the air.
Connecticut also failed to score after a 69-yard drive later in the quarter that ended when Dave Teggart's 41-yard field goal went wide right, his first miss in 13 attempts.
Teggart hit a 52-yarder on the Huskies next possession, a score that was set up when Byron Jones made a diving interception along the right sideline. But Teggart missed again early in the second quarter from 43 yards.
Iowa State needed just five plays to go 74 yards for the Cyclones first score. After Reynolds outfought Wreh-Wilson for the ball to make a 48-yard catch, White broke loose for the 26-yard score, his longest run of the season.
Connecticut had 40 offensive plays in the first half, but managed just 114 yards of offense.
The Huskies' three quarterbacks combined to go 15 of 36 for 231 yards. McEntee was 13 of 30 for 188 yards and an interception.
Shoemate, who sat out the first two games for Connecticut with an ankle injury, started at tailback. He ran just eight times for 28 yards.
Lyle McCombs, who had averaged more than 129 yards in Shoemate's absence, carried the ball 18 times for 46 yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-17||5-17|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-1|
|TD||10:25||Scott McCummings 10 Yd Run (Dave Teggart Kick)||0||7|
|FG||01:59||Dave Teggart 52 Yd||0||10|
|TD||11:03||James White 26 Yd Run (Zach Guyer Kick)||7||10|
|TD||11:18||Darius Reynolds 40 Yd Pass From Josh Lenz (Zach Guyer Kick)||14||10|
|FG||09:37||Dave Teggart 50 Yd||14||13|
|FG||06:44||Zach Guyer 36 Yd||17||13|
|TD||12:51||Kashif Moore 39 Yd Pass From Scott McCummings (Dave Teggart Kick)||17||20|
|TD||09:08||Darius Reynolds 20 Yd Pass From Steele Jantz (Zach Guyer Kick)||24||20|