AMES — Iowa State sophomore linebacker and Cedar Rapids native O’Rien Vance made his first start on Saturday against UNI, a game Iowa State won in triple overtime, 29-26.
Vance started at middle linebacker with Mike Rose moving to an outside linebacker spot.
Vance was tied for the second on the team with eight tackles. He also had two sacks of Iowa State’s three sacks of UNI quarterback Will McElvain.
“I said this before the season, I really thought O’Rien had had maybe his best 15-16 practices,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “I’ve always been a big O’Rien Vance fan. A year ago, in the spring, he had an incredible spring and kind of got dinged up in the summer and lost his way for a little bit. Then all of the sudden, even in some of our big moments a year ago, he did some great things.
“But it was that consistency, the ability to do the little things consistently that allowed him to have the game he did.”
Campbell said one of the keys for Vance was changing his daily habits.
“He’s changed his life,” Campbell said. “He’s changed who he is – how he sleeps, how he eats, how he approaches things. And what we’ve gotten is the best O’Rien Vance that Iowa State’s seen. He’s earned that right to be in our starting 11.
“It’s great to have the flexibility because you saw Will (McDonald) in there at times, Chandler Pulvermacher and Mike (Rose) can move around a lot.”
Vance got the sack of McElvain in the first overtime that forced a UNI field goal.
“I was feeling excited and I was happy we got the play,” Vance said.
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JONES’ CAREER DAY: Receiver Deshaunte Jones had 14 catches for 126 yards. The 14 catches are the second-most in a game in Iowa State history.
“Deshaunte Jones becomes, in my mind, the player of the game from an offensive standpoint,” Campbell said. “What he did in the game is what you hope a senior who’s played a lot of football here would do. I’m proud of Deshaunte. He’s taken a leadership role in that room. I think this gives him even more credibility in that leadership role as we continue to move forward.”
Fellow senior La’Micael Pettway, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, was Iowa State’s second-most important reciever. He had three catches for 26 yards and two touchdowns. One of the touchdowns came in the second overtime.
“Pettway’s a big, physical player,” Campbell said of his 6-foot-2, 223-pound receiver. “He would tell you he was a little bit raw coming into training camp. He didn’t get spring practice. I think that’s always real hard. … He’ll continue to have to grow, but I thought he did some great things today.”
INJURY REPORT: Iowa State didn’t come out of the game against UNI unscathed.
Running back Kene Nwangwu left the game with an injury after he had four carries for 30 yards. Campbell just said his junior running back tweaked something.
Center Colin Newell seemed to suffer a more serious injury in the third overtime. After a catch by Charlie Kolar, Newell was on the ground in pain. As he came off the field, he couldn’t put any weight on his leg. Campbell said the play happened too late to give any update.
Lastly, one of last season’s starting safeties, Braxton Lewis, didn’t play. Lewis had been dealing with a minor injury during fall camp and Campbell elected to keep him out for the first game. Campbell anticipates Lewis will be ready for the Iowa game.