AMES — Iowa State teammates Steele Jantz and Aaron Horne chatted on the way to the tunnel.
As chants of “Cyclone State” echoed throughout Kinnick Stadium Saturday after ISU’s defense-driven 9-6 win over Iowa, the former Golden State JUCO connection — Jantz was the hotshot quarterback at City College of San Francisco in 2010, Horne, his top receiving target — basked in the atmosphere.
“For us, it was more like the great feeling of knowing we came here to do our thing, to participate in this historic event,” said Horne, who scored the only touchdown of the game and led the Cyclones with 73 receiving yards. “And we’re 2-0. That’s all we could ask for.”
Jantz started hot, completing 10 of his first 11 passes.
The only misfire: A slightly underthrown ball intended for tight end Ernst Brun at the goal line.
Jantz ended up 24-of-36 through the air for 241 yards, the touchdown to Horne and two interceptions.
Naturally, then, he tipped his hat to the defense — on both sides of the ball.
“(The Hawkeyes’) defense is really well coached,” said Jantz, who completed 53 percent of his passes last season, but has connected on 69 percent in two wins in 2012. “They were doing a lot of things with their line. In the second half they made adjustments, they gave us different looks. … I felt like a lot of times they had an understanding of what we were trying to do.”
Jantz threw for 163 yards in the first half.
His biggest throw to Horne (40 yards) came early in the second quarter and set up Edwin Arceo’s 22-yard field goal that put ISU ahead, 9-3.
Those three points proved to be decisive, thanks to the Cyclones’ stingiest defensive effort in the Cy-Hawk Series since 1998.
The defense also allowed fewer than seven points against Iowa for just the second time since 1979, while the offense lost three turnovers inside the Hawkeyes’ 15-yard line.
ISU Coach Paul Rhoads expressed dismay over his team’s four turnovers and lack of second-half production.
Four of the Cyclones’ five three-and-outs on offense came after the break.
“Anytime you spend 15 minutes on a chalkboard at halftime talking about what took place in the last 30 minutes and what you’re going to do to attack and you go three-and-out as an offense, I’m not very happy with that as a head football coach,” Rhoads said.
Rhoads was generally pleased with Jantz’s performance — despite the turnovers.
“I think there was a period there in the first half when he was playing really, really good football,” Rhoads said. “I’m not walking away from this game disappointed in Steele Jantz.”
Nor is Horne, his teammate twice over.
“He’s mentally strong,” Horne said. “He doesn’t let a negative play get him down.”
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