Rebuilt defense, runnning game key for ISU

After squandering a shot at the Big 12 title game in two consecutive seasons, Iowa State is inspired to take the next step.

Updated: April 17, 2006, 4:28 PM ET
By Tim Griffin | Special to ESPN.com
Iowa State nose tackle Brent Curvey has been haunted by a bad dream each of the last two seasons.

The Cyclones twice have squandered chances to claim an undisputed North Division crown and a chance to play for the school's first outright conference championship in 114 seasons of football.

Regular season-ending overtime losses to Kansas last season and Missouri in 2004 kept the Cyclones out of the title game and pushed them instead to the Houston Bowl and Independence Bowl in those two seasons.

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