Coming into this season, James Washington set a goal for himself. He wanted to be more of a vocal leader, not just the guy to make big plays. Well against Iowa State he accomplished both. Changing the momentum of the game late in the third quarter, but far before that he was working the sidelines as a spark for his teammates making sure they kept their chins up.
"If I saw somebody putting their head down because they did something they weren't happy of, I picked their head up. I told them, 'let's go,' just throw it behind you and do something the next play... Walking around on the sidelines I felt like we were dead for a minute, then good things started happening for us, and the team began to rally together."
Mike Yurcich knows the value of No. 28 as a fire starter. "From a rhythm standpoint, people feed off of him. I know the quarterback has a lot of confidence in him so it's going to help him as well but, those are already important things, those are things that he brings."
"They see someone working their but off and they're like well I need to do my part too, and that just starts the team," said Washington on his initiative to change the outcome of the game.
Washington took the lead and the rest of his receiving corps followed with out question. Jalen McCleskey had a touchdown to bring the Pokes within three in the fourth quarter. "James was pumping everybody up. He was just trying to get everybody focused, that we were still in the game, that we can score easily and we all just stayed focus, kept our composure knowing that at any moment we could just go out there and put up points."
"I told the receivers, 'we gotta do something, we gotta get something going.' I could just tell by the look in their eyes a fire began to happen and we ended up making plays and defense made plays and everyone was just clicking together and next thing you know we were on top."
Now it's a bye week for the Pokes, Coach Gundy and the players agree it will be put to good use with some light practices moving forward.