Defense provides spark for Cyclones in opening win over Northern Iowa

Defense provides spark for Cyclones in opening win over Northern Iowa
The Associated Press

AMES, Iowa (AP) — It wasn’t the smoothest of openers for Iowa State.

But it went down as a relatively comfortable win for the Cyclones, one they won’t look down on after last year’s opening debacle against Northern Iowa.

Jacob Park threw for 271 yards and two touchdowns, and Iowa State, aided by a pair of interception returns for TDs, beat the FCS Panthers 42-24 in the season opener for both teams Saturday.

David Montgomery ran for 82 yards and two scores for the Cyclones, who scored 21 straight points to hold off the Panthers just a year after losing to UNI.

“I thought it was a good team win. Was it perfect? No,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “The thing I was most impressed with was that we didn’t panic.”

Willie Harvey (12 yards) and Kamari Cotton-Moya (18 yards) returned Eli Dunne picks for scores in the first quarter. Montgomery then closed the first half with an 8-yard TD run and opened the second with a 3-yard score to make it 28-10.

“Our defense was our offense,” Montgomery said.

The Cyclones essentially put it away midway through the third quarter on a 9-yard TD pass from Park to Marchie Murdock that put them ahead 35-10.

Iowa State’s Allen Lazard caught eight passes for 108 yards to set a school record for career receptions with 178.

Dunne was 23 of 38 for 259 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

“We were able to get some pressure on the quarterback in some crucial situations. That defensive front, those guys grew up (Saturday),” Campbell said.

KEY NUMBERS

Mike Warren split duties with Montgomery, finishing with 33 yards on 12 carries. Warren also had 58 yards as Iowa State’s kick returner. … Trevor Allen ran for 87 yards for the Panthers. … Northern Iowa was just 3 of 11 on third down, while Iowa State was 7 of 15.

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