AMES | There were many who may have been surprised by Jake Knott's appearance on the field in Iowa State's 35-21 victory over Baylor Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
All week leading into the game rumors were rampant and some media agencies reported the Cyclones' senior linebacker and leading tackler was not going to play against the Bears because he had reinjured the left shoulder he had surgery on after last year's Pinstripe Bowl.
What was true about Knott is the shoulder is sore and for the first time all season he wore a brace under his shoulder pads.
The brace did little to slow the two-time all-Big 12 linebacker.
On the opening series of the game, Knott came up with a huge hit on Baylor quarterback Nick Florence at the goalline, forcing his 10th career fumble that was recovered by ISU defensive linemen Willie Scott in the endzone.
Knott went on to record his 19th career 10-plus tackle game, finishing with seven solo tackles and four assists.
"It's not bad. I went into the game and told myself I wouldn't think about it," Knott said. "And I didn't. I can deal with it tomorrow. I'm used to that.
"We will see how it is and we will just see day-by-day," added Knott if it will be an on-going issue. "It depends. There are a few options but once again I'm just going to take it day-by-day and see where that takes me."
As for the brace, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads said the trainers and doctors finally got through Knott's thick skull.
"He doesn't always want to listen," Rhoads said. "He doesn't listen to doctors. He doesn't listen to me, and they like him to wear that brace as a precautionary measure, and he finally decided to wear it."
Additionally, Rhoads confirmed Knott was a bit banged up coming out of ISU's loss to Oklahoma State 10 days ago.
"Anytime you have that kind of action and you play linebacker, you're going to get banged up. You're going to be sore from time to time. He's sore a lot of days," Rhoads added.
With the rumors swirling about his availability, Knott's teammates knew the Waukee native would play against Baylor.
"He'd probably have to lose an arm or something (not to play)," fellow senior linebacker A.J. Klein said. "You're not going to keep him off the field no matter what happens."
INJURY UPDATES: Running back James White returned to the line-up just two weeks after minor knee surgery and rushed 10 times for 42 yards.
"Really got after his rehab, got clearance and he wanted on the field. He came up big for us tonight," Rhoads said.
Senior wide reciever Josh Lenz, who has been battling a quadriceps injury took part in pre-game warmups but didn't play.
"We ran passes there at the end of our team warmup," Rhoads explained. "Ball was out in front of him and he just couldn't got get it. I'd rather have him for the next four than him out there trying to do too much tonight and strain it further."
Lenz has 18 receptions for 279 yards and four touchdowns. It was the second straight game he has missed.
MONKEY OFF THE BACK: Lost in his glowing performance against the Bears was the fact Steele Jantz earned his first career Big 12 victory in the win.
"Steele Jantz gets first Big 12 victory. Steele Jantz heats up Jack Trice Stadium. I'm just trying to help you out a little bit, I don't know what you want to use as headlines," quipped Rhoads during his post-game press conference following Jantz's 36 for 53, 381 yard and five touchdown performance.
Coming into the game, Jantz had been a perfect 6-0 as a starter against non-conference opponents, but 0-5 against Big 12 competition.