AMES — There probably wasn’t a need for the members of the Iowa State football team to be reminded of how its 2013 season started.
Yet at least on two or three occasions during preseason camp, the Cyclones’ coaching staff felt the need to remind their squad what the final score of ISU’s first game from last season was .... Northern Iowa 28, Iowa State 20.
It was one of a handful of victories by Football Championship Subdivision programs over Football Bowl Subdivision programs last Aug. 30. In fact, it was one of two loses by Big 12 teams to FBS teams last year on opening day.
“A couple of times we did make sure on those hard days of camp to keep your foot on the gas,” ISU senior center Tom Farniok said. “It was ... to motivate us not to let it happen again.”
The Cyclones open their 2014 slate Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium against another FCS opponent, North Dakota State, who opened their 2013 season with a win at Kansas State. In fact, the Bison have beaten an FBS team in each of the last four years.
And NDSU is no ordinary FCS program, either, as the Bison are the three-time defending FCS national champion riding a 24-game win streak.
“Our guys have their eyes wide open,” ISU head coach Paul Rhoads said. “They have our kids full attention as they should.
“That is a team that has won three national championships on their level. A team that has played up and beat quote, unquote the big boys at the FBS level. They can beat anybody in America on any given day.
Rhoads and the Cyclones don’t expect to see a much different team from NDSU despite the fact head coach Craig Bohl and several assistants left for Wyoming after the Bison defeated Towson State, 35-7, to win the FCS national title last December.
Waterloo native Chris Klieman is now the man in charge, but Rhoads said it will be the same NDSU program coming to Ames Saturday.
“We think they are an established football program with not only key personnel, but key coaches in place that know that culture,” Rhoads said. “A culture of winning. To me that is the biggest successful piece regardless of a head coach moving on, regardless of graduated seniors.
“There isn’t anybody in that program that doesn’t know how to win or expect to win when they take the field. They will get on those buses and come to Ames, Iowa expecting to win their first game of the season.”
FULL RIDES: Senior linebacker Drake Ferch and junior tight end Ben Boesen were placed on scholarship Sunday by Rhoads.
Ferch, listed as No. 1 sam linebacker, and Boesen, ISU’s second-string tight end behind E.J. Bibbs, are the 17th and 18th former walk-ons to be granted scholarships by Rhoads since he arrived in 2009.
“Always a fun job,” Rhoads said. “It is overwhelming to see their expressions because you know what they have given to the program day after day after day, but even moreso to see their teammates surround them, hug them and congratulate them.”
DEPTH CHART MOVERS — A pair of significant changes were made to the ISU’s depth that was released Monday.
Freshman wide receiver Allen Lazard has moved into the No. 2 spot behind Quenton Bundrage at the Z-reciever spot, while senior Brandon Jensen is now listed at No. 1 at defensive tackle.
Lazard, the Urbandale native, and punter Colin Downing, are the only true freshmen listed on the Cyclones’ depth chart.
“He is going to get snaps, I’m sure he’ll get the ball tossed in his direction,” Rhoads said of Lazard.
Jensen opened preseason drills as No. 1 nose tackle, but Rhoads said in the process of trying to get the best four defensive linemen on the field at the sametime, is was a natural to move Jensen to tackle, where he has some experience.
With Jensen now at DT, sophomore Devlyn Cousin is now the No. 1 nose guard.
“They proved to be our two best at this point so in order to get them both on the field we moved Brandon to the 3-technique,” Rhoads said.
NO COMMUNICATION: Rhoads’ first game as Iowa State’s head coach was a 34-17 victory over North Dakota State in 2009.
Asked what he most remembered about that game, Rhoads was quick to respond, Our head sets didn’t work and that was a very long first half because of it.
“In a lot of ways the night was a blur and a lot of ways it was crystal-clear in how it unfolded. It was a lot fun to be out there and be the guy in charge,” added Rhoads.
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