AMES, Iowa (AP)—Austen Arnaud threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score in his first career start, and Iowa State returned five interceptions for a school-record 202 yards in a 44-17 rout of South Dakota State on Thursday night.
Freshmen Sedrick Johnson and Darius Darks each caught touchdown passes for Iowa State (1-0), which forced the undersized Jackrabbits into six turnovers. The Cyclones picked up their most lopsided win under second-year coach Gene Chizik.
Iowa State, which led 20-0 at halftime, put the game away late in the third quarter. Arnaud threw his first career touchdown pass, a 18-yarder to Darks, to make it 27-3. Three plays later, Derec Schmidgall took an interception 37 yards to push Iowa State’s lead to 34-3 with 2:14 left in the third quarter.
South Dakota State tacked on a pair of meaningless fourth-quarter touchdowns; a 3-yard TD run by Kyle Minett and a 76-yard touchdown run by JaRon Harris.
Ryan Berry was 23-of-37 passing for 170 yards and five interceptions for South Dakota State, in its first year as a full-fledged FCS program and facing its first major college opponent since 1984.
It didn’t go nearly as well as the Jackrabbits hoped.
South Dakota State turned it over five times in the first half, and Iowa State used three long interception returns to build a 20-0 halftime lead.
The Cyclones drove 69 yards on the game’s opening possession and went ahead 7-0 on a 1-yard TD plunge by Arnaud. The Cyclones then turned it over twice themselves, but defensive end Kurtis Taylor picked off a pass at the Iowa State 26 and ran it back 48 yards.
Grant Mahoney’s first career field goal, 35-yarder, made it 10-0 with 2:42 left in the first quarter. Michael Bibbs then intercepted a tipped ball at the Iowa State 6 and took it 53 yards. Mahoney connected from 36 yards out to put the Cyclones ahead 13-0 with 6:55 left in the second quarter.
Berry threw a pick to another defensive linemen, Austin Alburtis, on the Jackrabbits’ next drive, and he returned it 61 yards. Bates connected with Johnson on a 14-yard touchdown pass on the next play, pushing Iowa State’s lead to 20-0 with 4:16 left in the half.
Arnaud, who beat out Bates in a heated competition during fall camp, was 8-of-11 passing for 98 yards. Bates was 5-of-8 passing for 61 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for 55 yards on nine carries.
Jason Harris added a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for Iowa State.
Minett lead the Jackrabbits with for 111 yards rushing.