Yup, you read that right. Iowa State is in first place in the Big 12, due to wins over TCU and OU (this was written before the conclusion on the Texas Tech/OU game, which I assume the Red Raiders found a way to bumble away).
The Cyclones aren't just a good story, they're legitimately good: Consider this question, posed before the game, officially answered. Iowa State has now knocked off previously unbeaten teams in Oklahoma and TCU. That doesn't happen by a fluke, and the win over the Horned Frogs certainly wasn't one. Iowa State hired an offensive coach in Campbell, but the quiet difference this season has been the defensive improvement, particularly against the run. TCU had just 1.6 yards per rush when that was the basis of its offense. That forced quarterback Kenny Hill to win with his arm, and frankly, that's not something he's great at doing. Hill threw two picks, lost a fumble and averaged 5.4 yards per attempt. This was all Iowa State.
This was the Kenny Hill game everyone with TCU ties was dreading. Hill, the former Texas A&M sensation that had hit the reset button in Fort Worth, had played largely mistake-free football in leading the Horned Frogs to a No. 4 ranking a few days before the College Football Playoff selection committee releases its first rankings, with 15 touchdowns against just three interceptions after tossing 13 picks in 2016, his first season as the starter.
In Ames, the inaccuracy and inconsistency returned, as the Horned Frogs’ offense was kept out of the end zone and Iowa State notched its second stunning upset of a top-five Big 12 foe this season, hanging on for a 14–7 win that leaves a logjam of four Big 12 teams with one conference loss atop the league standings. Hill finished 12 of 25 for just 135 yards and accounted for three giveaways and several general misfires that turned a long day for the TCU offense into a season-defining one.
It really is a shame... after a rough first half, the TCU defense was dominant in the final two frames, holding the Clones to 40 yards and forcing a bevy of punts as well as an interception. But.. well... the offense tho...
“When you get down inside the 20-yard line, you got to make plays,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “Simple as that. You got to get scores on the board.”
Hampered by five holding penalties and three turnovers, the offense did not play at a championship level for Patterson.
His veteran center was flagged three times. His most veteran receiver was guilty once. A senior tight end, too.
Stunned? I wouldn’t go that far. Iowa State is really, really good. This was no fluke - nor was their win at OU.
Kyle Kempt threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns as the Cyclones handed the Horned Frogs their first defeat and left the Big 12 Conference without an unbeaten team.
Marcel Spears intercepted a Kenny Hill pass with 1:16 left to seal it for the Cyclones (6-2, 4-1 Big 12), who forced a pair of turnovers in the red zone in the second half in winning their fourth straight game.
Kempt put Iowa State ahead 14-0 at the break with touchdown passes to Matt Eaton (17 yards) and Hakeem Butler (4 yards).
The game sucked, but this was awesome. I am thankful that the Fabers remain part of our Frog fam.
TCU fans took in Abby as one of their own, raising money to help with her medical expenses. Patterson made it a point to keep in touch. Abby and her family made another trip down to Fort Worth last season, when the Cyclones visited TCU.
Then, ahead of Saturday's game, Patterson stopped to see Abby before Saturday's game at Jack Trice Stadium. Based on the pictures in the tweet, it looks as though Abby got to FaceTime Boykin as well, another heart-warming image for one of college football's best stories.
Misery loves company.
Three ranked, undefeated teams all suffered their first losses of the season within an hour this afternoon: 2nd-ranked Penn State lost a narrow one to 6th-ranked Ohio State in Columbus; 4th-ranked TCU trailed the whole way at 25th-ranked Iowa State; and 17th-ranked South Florida lost at home to Houston on a last second touchdown.