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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / 1996 | BIG 12

Davis Carries Load in Iowa State's 42-23 Win

September 22, 1996|From Associated Press

Just as his coach had promised, Troy Davis got the ball against Northern Iowa.

Did he ever.

Returning to last year's form, Davis carried a school-record 53 times for 241 yards and five touchdowns Saturday as Iowa State broke a five-game losing streak with a 42-23 victory over Northern Iowa at Ames, Iowa.

Davis, who led the nation with 2,010 yards rushing last fall, had not been carrying the ball as much this season as Iowa State (1-2) sought to diversify its offense. But the Cyclones went back to their No. 1 weapon against Northern Iowa (3-1), ranked third in Division I-AA, and Davis delivered.

"I told you earlier in the week we were going to give the ball to 28," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said, referring to Davis' jersey number.

"We had to establish the line of scrimmage. We felt like we could move the chains, try to get possession as much as we could and try to keep it away from UNI's offense, which is excellent."

Davis, whose father drove 25 hours from Miami to watch him play, scored four times on 2-yard runs and added 1-yard dive late in the game to tie the school touchdown record he shares with Joe Henderson.

The 5-foot-8, 190-pound junior topped 200 yards for the fifth time in his career and broke the old school record of 47 carries by Dwayne Crutchfield against Colorado in 1981. He had carried a total of 55 times in the first two games.

"It felt good to play in front of my parents because they have done so much for me," Davis said. "I did not tell coach to give me the ball, but I wasn't tired, so I still felt good. I don't have a limit. Just keep giving me the ball."

The coaching staff did, and Iowa State won for the first time since beating Oklahoma State last Oct. 28. The Cyclones also ended their frustration against Northern Iowa, which had beaten Iowa State in 1992 and 1994.

"What can you say about Troy Davis?" McCarney said. "He's durable, he's tough, he's consistent. We just felt handing him the ball was the best thing we could do today."

Northern Iowa Coach Terry Allen had led his players in singing the school's fight song in the south end zone after the two victories over Iowa State, but there was no celebrating on the Panther side this time.

Instead, Allen and his team were left to contemplate their missed opportunities.

"The frustrating thing for us is we could very well have been competitive in this football game and had a shot to win," Allen said. "I'm not saying we could have won, but we had some opportunities to put some pressure on them and get it going."

Northern Iowa drove inside the Iowa State 8-yard line on its first two possessions but came away with only three points. The Panthers also failed to capitalize when they reached the Iowa State 11 late in the first half after Tyree Talton's interception.

Iowa State's Michael Cooper intercepted a Steve Beard pass to end that threat. "We didn't give ourselves a chance to get back into the football game," Allen said.

Iowa State, meanwhile, scored on its first four possessions in building a 28-10 lead.

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