AMES — Deceptive.
It’s a word that continually crops up with respect to Iowa State wide receiver Josh Lenz’s speed — and Texas Christian’s vaunted defensive backs are still fooled.
Lenz burst back to the fore of the Cyclones’ offense in Saturday’s 37-23 Big 12 road win, snaring five passes for a single-game career-high 147 yards and three touchdowns (also a career high).
“Josh’s speed is deceptive because he didn’t get caught by any of them,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads, whose No. 25 team (by coaches) faces No. 5 Kansas State in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. FX-televised game at Jack Trice Stadium. “He’s one of our five fastest players on the team and people don’t realize because he hasn’t put himself in position and we haven’t put him in position to have more plays like he did on Saturday. Hopefully at the end of the season we’re talking about the speedy Josh Lenz because he has more catches like that.”
They’re not easy to get against the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0), who have allowed just one pass play of greater than 27 yards in their past three games.
K-State, like ISU (4-1, 1-1), practices the bend-but-don’t-break philosophy.
It’s allowed them to rank 16th nationally in scoring defense at 15.6 points per game despite yielding 363.4 yards of offense, on average (44th nationally).
“They’re a great defense,” said Lenz, who had totaled five catches for 36 yards in his previous three games. “They’re fundamental. They make you earn everything when you’re out there.”
Part of not breaking hinges on taking.
The Wildcats top the conference in turnover margin at plus-two per game.
Only four teams in the nation currently boast a better success rate in that key category.
“You’re going to eventually get a penalty,” Rhoads said of facing K-State defenses. “You’re going to turn it over. You’re going to throw a pass that’s a foot too high and have an incompletion and get yourself off the field instead of them quote, unquote stopping you. They’re just very sound in how they approach the game.”
So is Lenz, who said there’s no secret to shedding defenders and getting open.
He’s so good at it, his own team’s defensive backs have taken notice.
“It’s really deceptive, how fast he is,” said nickel back Deon Broomfield.
There’s that word again.
“They really underestimate his quickness,” Cyclone quarterback Jared Barnett added.
He does not, however — and it showed on Saturday.
“We just communicate well out there,” Lenz said. “I guess we both see the same things. We’re just doing what we’re supposed to do out there.”
HOLDING ON: Rhoads said he was generally pleased with walk-on kicker Edwin Arceo’s performance in the win at TCU. Arceo missed his third extra point of the season, but also drilled a 46-yard field goal. “The biggest part of (the miss) was a bad snap,” Rhoads said. “The comparison I would make to that is start your golf swing and have somebody move the golf ball two inches on you and see how well you hit the ball. So it was a bad football play, but Edwin’s not solely to blame and he hit a 46-yarder into a pretty good wind and he hit the other ones well. So, moving forward; status quo.”NEW RECRUIT: Ernest Suttles, a defensive end from Gaither (Fla.) High School, has committed to play for Iowa State in 2013.