AMES — Iowa State kicker Edwin Arceo approached fall camp calmly, confidently and certain of one thing.
The starting spot would be wide open — and a solid performance against touted true freshman Cole Netten could complete his journey from walk-on to being “the guy.”
“Coach (Paul) Rhoads said we were going to be competing for the spot,” Arceo, an Iowa Central transfer, said after Saturday’s 38-23 win over Tulsa. “He told me we were competing, so the whole time, that’s what I did.”
And he won.
Arceo, a junior, enters Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. hyped matchup at Iowa a career 1-for-1 on field goals, having plunked through a 30-yarder against the Golden Hurricane.
One start. 1-for-1.
A good omen at a key position.
“It’s very good for him to be on our football team right now with that first game performance,” said Rhoads, who noted throughout fall camp both kickers had been impressive and evenly-matched. “I used the word composed a lot with (Cyclone quarterback) Steele (Jantz) after the game and Edwin was certainly that way, also. Doesn’t get rattled very easily — and believe me, I try to do it with our kickers as we go through practice.”
Sometimes Rhoads throws his hat strategically.
Or bellows in the kicker’s ear.
“In the spring, he was hitting the ball really well and I was behind him trying to get in his ear and asking him why he didn’t hit this well in training camp earlier in the year,” Rhoads said. “He calmly approached the ball, kicked the ball, put it right through the uprights and told me, ‘Because you didn’t invite me to training camp.’”
Field goals can loom large in any game, but three-points-or-less margins have marked both of ISU’s two most recent wins over the Hawkeyes.
In 2007, kicker Bret Culbertson scored all of the Cyclones’ points in a 15-13 triumph over Iowa at Jack Trice Stadium.
Last season, Jantz’s heroics helped give ISU a pulse-pounding 44-41 triple-overtime win over the Hawkeyes.
And ISU’s last victory at Kinnick — a Seneca Wallace-fueled 36-31 comeback — included a pair of fourth-quarter field goals from Adam Benike.
But Arceo’s not thinking about any of that.
He keeps it basic, bare-bones.
“I’ve been doing it for a long time,” said the former Muscatine standout. “So I just take my steps, just look at the (uprights) and just keep my head down. After that, it just happens.”
Simple, even-measured approach.
“That’s the way he is, practice or game,” Rhoads said. “Very pleasing to see his performance (against Tulsa), although his kickoffs need to be a little bit more consistent.”
n CY-HAWK TALK: Rhoads was asked about last season’s temporary Cy-Hawk Series trophy falling apart in the Cyclones’ hands, then corrected the record. “I don’t think you could necessarily say we broke that trophy,” Rhoads said. “I don’t know how well constructed it was as it arrived in the stadium. But there is a lot of to-do about that trophy and we’re proud we’re playing for something. The important thing is to have it. It wouldn’t matter what it was to these two football programs. Having it’s the most important thing.”
n HEALTH MATTERS: Rhoads said injuries in the Tulsa game were mostly light. The most severe hit were running back Jeff Woody (foot) and offensive lineman Ethan Tuftee (ankle). “Woody didn’t run (Sunday),” Rhoads said. “And Ethan Tuftee didn’t run — we had him on the bike. But I anticipate them both practicing, probably on Tuesday.” Wide receiver Chris Young and Starting left cornerback Jeremy Reeves also missed some time last Saturday, but seem fine, Rhoads said. “Chris Young was sore, but ran. Jeremy ran fast, so he had no lingering effects,” he added.
n STEELE’S FEEL: Steele Jantz’s second-best throwing game in terms of yards (279) came in last year’s 44-41 3OT win over Iowa. Does that help the senior mentally as he prepares for his final go with the Hawkeyes? “It was a good win for us and kind of a crazy game,” Jantz said. “Just the fact that we’ve played them once is helpful.”
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