Iowa State's goal to begin the season was clear: Reach the postseason again. Players talked of it. Fans clamored for it.
Coach Paul Rhoads, though? He's hinted all along that this team was capable of more. Six wins wasn't good enough.
Reclaiming the starting spot he lost this season, Steele Jantz
put Iowa State into fantastic position to reach the postseason with a career game.
At 5-3, though, Iowa State is in position to do much more and validate Rhoads' claims this season that the Cyclones could win five games in Big 12 play and grab an eight-win season.
Jantz took advantage of a suspect Baylor defense with 36 completions on 52 attempts, racking up 381 passing yards and five touchdowns in a 35-21 win over Baylor in Ames. As if there was any doubt, he made it clear this week that he's a whole lot more than a great name.
The senior speedster also took advantage of open running lanes for 54 yards rushing on 10 carries. Jantz was benched in the Big 12 league opener against Texas Tech and ceded his starting spot over the next two games to Barnett before replacing him late against Oklahoma State last week. On Saturday, it was clear that Jantz did a whole lot more than feel sorry for himself over those last three weeks. For that, he earns our Big 12 Player of the Week honors.
He was far from the most obvious candidate for this award when Saturday began, but by the end, he was the clear candidate, fresh off a huge game that gave Iowa State its second Big 12 victory.
He'll need to stay consistent to keep his job away from a still-hungry Barnett, and a tough matchup awaits this week against arguably the Big 12's best defense, Oklahoma.
Winnable games await beyond the Sooners, though, with road trips to Kansas and Texas. Don't be surprised if Jantz finds himself back here at some point by season's end.