ISU 31, Army 10
AMES, Iowa – The Black Knights scored first for the fourth straight game, but Iowa State reeled off 17 unanswered points to take control and eventually score a 31-10 victory on Saturday night in front of 50,532 fans at Jack Trice Stadium. The loss dropped Army to 2-2 on the season, while the Cyclones improved to 3-1 on the season, surpassing their win total from last season.
Iowa State’s Alexander Robinson became the first opposing runner to crack the 100-yard mark against Army this season, rushing for 127 yards and a score on 21 carries. Robinson also made three catches for 51 yards and a pair of scores.
As a team, the Cyclones picked up 201 yards on the ground, the most by a Black Knights’ opponent this season. Army rushed for a season-low 186 yards. ISU outgained the Black Knights, 376-316.
Junior Patrick Mealy led the Army ground game with 54 yards on eight carries in his first game at fullback. Fellow fullback Kingsley Ehie rushed for 47 yards on 10 carries, while junior QB Chip Bowden ran 13 times for 42 yards in relief of starter Trent Steelman.
ISU signal caller Austen Arnaud was 11-for-20 passing for 175 yards and two scores. Bowden completed eight of his 21 throws for 87 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Steelman was 3 of 5 through the air for 43 yards. Army’s 130 passing yards were its highest output since throwing for 328 yards versus Tulsa on Nov. 17, 2007.
Senior WR Alejandro Villanueva posted career highs with six catches for 77 yards and a score. It was the best day by an Army receiver since Jeremy Trimble had 11 catches for 167 yards against the Golden Hurricane. Villanueva has now caught a touchdown in each of the last three games.
Defensively, junior DE Josh McNary led the Black Knights with 10 tackles, including 2.0 for loss and a sack. Junior FS Donovan Travis made eight stops, while senior DT Victor Ugenyi had five tackles, including 2.5 behind the line. Senior DE Brad Marren also made five tackles, 1.5 of which were for loss.
Jesse Smith led the Cyclones with a game-high 13 tackles.
After both teams punted on their opening possessions, Army took over at its own 18-yard line and drove the ball into the red zone, including a conversion on a 4th-and-2 from the Iowa State 42-yard line. The drive stalled at the Cyclones 15-yard line, but Alex Carlton drilled a 32-yard field goal to give the Black Knights a 3-0 lead 4:51 left in the first quarter. Carlton’s field goal capped a 12-play, 67-yard drive that took 6:14 off the clock. Steelman completed all three of his pass attempts on the drive for 43 yards, including a 20-yarder to Villanueva.
The Cyclones struck back on their next possession. Iowa State moved the ball to the Army 31-yard line, but lost two yards when the shotgun snap was fumbled on a third-down play. Despite the loss of yardage, Iowa State tied the game when Grant Mahoney drilled a 50-yard field goal, tying his longest of the season. The kick tied the game at 3-3 with 2:22 left in the opening stanza.
Neither team could muster much offense, so the Iowa State special teams took it upon itself to put the Cyclones in scoring position. Josh Lenz took Army’s fourth punt of the half and returned it 44 yards to the Army 18-yard line. ISU scored five plays later on two-yard touchdown pass from Arnaud to Robinson. The play was set up as an option, but Robinson ended up in front of the ISU quarterback who pitched it to him as he crossed the goal line. Arnaud was the main ballcarrier on the drive, carrying four times for 16 yards. Mahoney’s PAT was good and the Cyclones took their first lead of the game at 10-3 with 7:36 left in the half.
Army was forced to punt again on its next possession, and the Cyclones took over at their own 32-yard line. Robinson broke free around the left end on the first play, sprinting 68 yards for his second score in as many plays. The extra point stretched the Iowa State lead to 17-3 with 5:07 to go.
Bowden and Ehie took control of the Army offense on the Black Knights’ next drive. Army moved the ball to the ISU 5-yard line, and after two straight incompletions on jump ball passes to Vilanueva, Bowden and the Black Knights’ 6-10 receiver finally hooked up on third down for the five-yard scoring pass. Carlton’s point after was good, cutting the Black Knights’ deficit to 17-10 with only 13 seconds left in the half. The drive covered 74 yards on 16 plays in 4:48. Ehie carried five times for 36 yards, while Bowden ran the ball five times for 13 yards, including converting a 4th-and-1 from the ISU 6-yard line. The lefty was 2-for-5 passing for 10 yards on the drive, and also drew a pass interference penalty on the Cyclones’ defense.
Iowa State took a knee and Army went into the locker room trailing 17-10. It marked the first time the Black Knights trailed after the first 30 minutes this season.
The two offenses were nearly even in the first half with the Cyclones holding a slim 159-157 advantage in total yardage. ISU held a 119-104 edge in rushing yards, but Army outgained the Cyclones through the air 53-40. The Black Knights held the ball for more than 20 minutes in the first half, running 43 plays compared to the Cyclones 26.
Ehie ran for 44 yards on eight carries to lead Army, while Robinson led all players with 93 yards on eight carries. Bowden was 2-for-8 passing for 10 yards and a score, while Steelman finished the first half 3 of 5 for 43 yards. Arnaud completed four of his nine attempts for 40 yards and a touchdown.
The Cyclones wasted little time re-establishing a 14-point lead, scoring on the opening possession of the third quarter. Arnaud did the honors with a 14-yard scoring run that capped a seven-play, 73-yard drive. The Black Knights appeared to have the ISU quarterback hemmed in for a loss, but he ran through several Army tacklers and bulled his way into the end zone. The PAT was good, extending the Cyclones lead to 24-10 with 12:29 left in the third quarter.
Army drove into scoring positions on its first second-half, marching to the ISU 10-yard line, but the drive stalled to force a field goal try. Carlton’s 27-yard attempt was wide right, giving the Cyclones the ball at their own 20-yard line.
Turnabout proved fair play on Iowa State’s next possession. The Cyclones drove inside the Army 25-yard line, but Mahoney’s 41-yard field goal try went wide left to keep the score at 24-10 with 4:25 to go in the third quarter.
The Black Knights again were able to move the ball, penetrating the ISU 30-yard line, but Bowden’s pass attempt was intercepted by Leonard Johnson in the end zone for a touchback. Army did not allow the Cyclones a first down, but any potential field-position advantage was negated by a 64-yard boot of the foot of Mike Brandtner. Army took over at its own 15-yard line with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
Army was forced to punt, and Bulls’ rugby-style kick appeared to be deflected and went out of bounds at the Army 45-yard line, just three yards past the line of scrimmage. The Cyclones took over with 10:54 left in the game, but could not take advantage of the field position. Brandtner’s punt was fair caught at the Black Knights’ 15-yard line with 9:31 remaining.
The Black Knights punted for the seventh time, setting up Iowa State’s final scoring drive. The Cyclones went 57 yards in seven plays, taking 1:51 off the clock. Arnaud hooked up with Robinson for the second time, this one a 32-yard scoring play. The PAT was good, giving the Cyclones their largest lead at 30-10 with 5:44 to go.
Army again punted the ball away on its next possession, and with the Black Knights out of timeouts, the Cyclones were able to run out the clock to secure the victory.
The Black Knights are now 1-1 on the road this season. They were attempting to win back-to-back road games for the first time since the 2005 season.
The Black Knights open a two-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 3 when they host Tulane. As part of the annual Homecoming festivities, the first 5,000 fans through the gates at Michie Stadium will receive a free Army mini-helmet.
For tickets, call the Army Athletics Ticket Office at 1-877-TIX-ARMY or click here.