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Iowa State Cyclones Football

Updated on February 9, 2014

Iowa State Cyclones Football: Past and Present

Over time I'm hoping to build this into one of the best reference pages on the entire web about Iowa State Cyclones Football and ISU history, while keeping information on the present day program.  I know that I'll never top the job that Paul Clark is doing at Rivals for up to date ISU information, so while I'll comment on modern stuff, the main focus here is going to be long term history.

Paul Rhoads getting on players in practice.
Paul Rhoads getting on players in practice.

Paul Rhoads as the New Head Coach

New coaching staff, maybe a new culture, and a long overdue update!

Well an update has long been over due, and at one point having gone this far into Cyclones Head Coach Paul Rhoads's first season, it just made sense to wait to the end and see how things turned out. The end result was far better than anyone could have expected. Even beyond the 7-6 record that resulted from a bowl win, long time streaks of futility came to an end in the very first season Rhoads was at the helm for Cyclones football, and the way he did it makes the accomplishments even more impressive. After falling for 2 years of "BS" coming from Chizik's mouth, it looks like now we actually have a real coach and one heck of a coaching staff from top to bottom. Aside from becoming a YouTube star and ESPN favorite based on clips from the post Nebraska win celebration and the post Insight Bowl victory speech, an absolutely stunning amount of good. Here is just a short list of accomplishments:

*Won 7 games - much better than the combined 5 wins in 2 years under Chizik

*Snapped a 10 game losing streak that ended 2008

*Snapped an 11 game Big 12 losing streak

*Snapped a 14 game Big 12 road losing streak

*Beat Nebraska at Lincoln for the first time since 1977, and they did it without their starting QB or RB, and with nearly a quarter of the team sick with flu or H1N1 Virus.

*First winning season in 4 years

*First bowl win since 2004 (and only 3rd in school history)

*First victory over Minnesota ever

*The first 1st year coach with a winning record at ISU since 1931.

*First time a defense held 3 conference opponents to under 10 points since the 1950s.

It was one heck of a football season, and was capped up by what looks to possibly be one of the most exciting recruiting classes that Iowa State may have brought in since the heavily successful Big 8 teams of the late 1970s and very early 1980s. There is a LOT to be excited about with this coaching staff, the young recruits coming in, and maybe most importantly to Cyclones fans: Rhoads appears to be an extremely high character individual who demands the same out of his coaches and players, and is a brilliant coach who really and truly wants to be at Iowa State. With a much harder schedule both in 2010 and the future, it will be really interesting to see what this team can do against stiff competition and with more and more young talent coming in.

Although time will tell for sure, the Paul Rhoads hire looks like a potential home run.

Paul Rhoads Post Insight Bowl Speech

Make sure to watch all the way to the locker room speech, which was just stunning and amazing. If you're a parent, how can you not want your kids to play for this guy?

Iowa State Cyclones Gear from Amazon

Grab some great I-State gear to help support the up and coming teams!

Iowa State Football Post Nebraska Celebration

A look at the famous locker room speech that has made Iowa State Head Coach Paul Rhoads a YouTube star and an ESPN favorite.

Recent Weeks Look Good

Well, many Cyclones fans by mid-season said the biggest thing they wanted to see was consistent improvement and a strong attitude from the team and the coach.

Well the past three weeks can make you say check, check, and check! After playing then ranked #4 Oklahoma to the wire, barely losing 17-7 in a game that they could of won if they had better field goal kicking. This was after a lambasting against Texas, but the Cyclones played all out that game, and kept it very close right up to the very end of the 4th quarter.

Following that was a difficult game against highly ranked Missouri, and ISU's offense came to life and the two teams fought blow for blow to the very end of the 4th quarter once again.

The next week had a tough Kansas State team coming to Ames. With back up quarterback Austin Arnaud healthy enough to take his 20 snaps a game, the combination was effective, and Iowa State on offense and defense fought like crazy, and came out with a 31-20 victory.

These coaches look like they're turning around a young team that knows how to fight on both offense and defense, and refuses to lay down and die, even when things go wrong. This is a team that doesn't have nearly the talent level that most Big 12 teams have, but these guys fight.

Next year Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech get dropped for Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Baylor. Iowa loses several of their best players, and Iowa State seems to be gaining a lot more than they're losing. If this ISU team re-played Toledo, Kent State, and UNI, most likely they beat all three.

Barring a complete collapse, which I just don't see with how well this team is playing, Cyclones fans have a lot to look forward to.

ADDED: After the 21 point comeback against Colorado, the largest since 1989, a whopping 18 seasons, it's really hard not to believe that this is a special coaching staff that is going to turn this team into a really special contender.

2nd ADDENDUM: Well the last game sucked as Kansas trounced us, but they are a National Title contender with much much better athletes than ISU, and it showed. Still, the team kept fighting and scratching, and although there are some significant losses, this appears to be a very intelligent coaching staff that is going to do some very special things in the future.

I don't even think it's going too far to suggest that next season, if a couple of defensive tackles step their game up, 7 wins and a bowl isn't out of the question.

Ten Most Heart Breaking "Close Calls" in ISU History

So Close and Yet...............................

While the mood was different during the close 7-17 loss to #4 Oklahoma, since this was a rebuilding year with a team that showed incredible fight and progress in Coach Gene Chizik's first season. Many of the close calls over the last year showcased the agony of Cyclones fans, as the football team was constantly within grasp of moving to the elite squads, winning Big 12 North Titles, and getting a shot at the better bowls and better recruits that come with success.

And they fell short with such a constancy of bad luck, unbelievable opponent comebacks, bad plays and bad coaching that fans have to wonder if they have the mother of all sports curses. The shocking upset of #4 team by 1-6 ISU would have been better than the close call, but at least this game has a chance to be seen as a turning point-assuming Chizik & co. can turn everything around. So in honor of fellow long suffering Cyclones fans, here are the ten most painful close calls, focusing mainly on games that could be seen as potential "turning points" for the program, but instead became further "can't get over the hump" marks against them.

#10: Iowa, 1977, lost 10-12: Okay, this is the one game that might be a little of a stretch, but there were nine obvious ones and then a gap. 1977 was Iowa State's second winning season in a row, and their first bowl game ever. The one smudge on an otherwise great season with an 8-4 record was a loss to the 4-7 Hawks, the bitter in state rivals.

#9: Missouri, 2004, lost 14-17(OT): The end of 2004 was simple. Beat 4-6 Missouri, and ISU wins the Big 12 North and goes to the Big 12 title game. Culbertson missed a 24 yard FG in the 4th quarter that would have won it, and in overtime Meyer threw a pass behind TE Barkema, who couldn't hold on. Had he made the tough but make-able catch, or had Meyer thrown a better pass, the TD would also have one the game in OT, but neither happened, and even with a first down at the three yard line, ISU couldn't do anything and an INT in the end zone didn't even allow for a second OT, and the Tigers kept the Cyclones from winning the North.

#8: Oklahoma, 2007, lost 7-17: This was an even closer game than the score indicates, with Oklahoma's last field goal coming at the end of the 4th quarter. A terrible miss by Culbertson early resulted in the coaches going for it later in the game, and really changed the complexion. If Culbertson could have hit that FG, and the second that would have resulted from later in the game, it may have been 13-14 in the 4th, which meant a last minute FG would have won it. Still, it was a great showing against a #4 team, and has the change to turn into something more. If nothing else, it gives hope, as poisonous as that word must seem to long time Cyclones fans.

#7: TCU, Houston Bowl, 2005, lost 24-27: TCU, ranked #14 and coming off an excellent 11-1 season, was ISU's bowl opponent. To give you an idea of how ridiculous a "how did we lose that game" this was, the offensive player of the game was TCU's QB, who barely beat out ISU's, and the defensive player of the game was Jason Berryman of the Iowa State Cyclones. This game will forever haunt Cyclones fans because Bret Meyer was scrambling wide open for an apparent TD when, with no contact, he fumbled the ball. This took away a sure TD, and was one of four ISU turnovers on the day. The game ended when one of the worst kickers in the country nailed a 44 yard FG.

#6: Colorado, 2004, lost 14-19: Any Big 12 loss this season can be said to have cost ISU the North, and this one hurt. Also known as "the field goal game." Mason Crosby hit field goals of 29, 34, 54, and 60 yards in an amazing display of kicking accuracy. Iowa State, meanwhile, had 5 trips in the red zone result in 0 pts, and their kickers combined to miss from 23 and 24 yards, resulting in the coaches going for it on 4th down in Colorado's red zone in the second half, failing at both, and also turning it over on a fumbled snap.

#5: Nebraska, 2005, lost 20-27(2OT): ISU was ranked #23 coming into this game and was beginning to get national attention. 2005 was like 2004, any Big 12 loss can be considered to have cost them the Big 12 North. What was terrible about this one was QB Zack Taylor was sacked, and he fumbled in regulation. DeAndre Jackson tried to scoop it up, and couldn't. If he had been able to handle the ball, that was the easiest 6 points a defensive player ever scored, and they would have won, beating hated rival Nebraska and winning the Big 12 North. But once again, it just wasn't to be.

#4: Florida State, 2002, lost 31-38: Taking on Florida State in the Eddie Robinson Classic, ISU was down 24-0. Seneca Wallace and the Cyclones stormed back, dominating the second half, and coming within inches on fourth down of getting a TD. McCarney insists there would have been no overtime, because he would have gone for two. Looking at the replay, to this day I still think he broke the goal line by inches. It was that close. This game was on national TV, and was a prime chance to get national attention.

#3: Alabama, 2001, Independence Bowl, lost 13-14: A game that received national attention, with even ESPN questioning the dubious call by the officials at the end. Both teams rushed the field after Tony Yelk's long game winning field goal-Iowa State because to a man they believed they hit it. Alabama's bench noticeably delayed as one ref hesitated, then signaled no good to hand it to the Crimson Tide. Pitt would remain the only team ever beaten by Iowa State in a bowl, robbing McCarney of the chance to win two in a row.

#2: Missouri, 2005, lost 24-27(OT): After spotting Missouri 10 points off turnovers, Iowa State's defense dominated senior Brad Smith, and the offense came to life. ISU was dominating, with a 24-14 lead with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter. The defense was pitching a shut out when they knocked Brad Smith out of the game. A freshman named Chase Daniel stepped in. Missouri scored 17 unanswered points, taking advantage of a soft zone defense, as well as ISU's ultra conservative (but not very effective) play calling in the 4th quarter. This game cost them not only the Big 12 North, but also resulted in ISU playing TCU in a bowl, instead of a weaker, beatable opponent.

#1: Kansas, 2005, lost 21-24(OT): Despite all the missed opportunities, the last game of the season Iowa State only had to win against Kansas, who had one of the best rush defenses in the country, and one of the worst offenses. ISU built a 14-3 lead, and had a Todd Blythe TD called back on a questionable call that would have made it 21-3. The back up quarterback came in the 4th for Kansas and led two quick TD drives with huge pass completions that made ISU look like idiots on D. Culbertson missed a FG in overtime, and for two years in a row, it was over.

It's amazing the run of terrible luck and unbelievable close calls. Will Oklahoma be yet another one, or will that game launch something special in the Chizik era, like an outright conference title-something that has never happened in 114 years of Cyclones football, the longest streak in college football history? Only time will tell.

Probably the single most famous play in ISU history

ISU Misery: So What's the Verdict 1/2 Through?

It's been a rough year, but there is hope

The Texas Tech-Iowa State match up was history setting, in that Texas Tech's freshman wide receiver Michael Crabtree set the NCAA record for receiving touchdowns. The amazing thing is that in Texas Tech's pass happy system, Crabtree has done it only six games into the season. Against Iowa State, Crabtree had his 6th straight multi-touchdown game, with another three against Iowa State.

In only six games, he already has 17 receiving TDs, an NCAA record, and had three against ISU. For the Cyclones, who aside from a roller coaster of good and mediocre seasons over the last six seasons are one of the worst teams in NCAA history, the pain continues. At the half way point of their season they are 1-5, with a loss to I-AA UNI. Now that they've been part of the only history they'll most likely take part in all season, what does the Texas Tech game and the first half of the Iowa State season say about this team?

The loss to Texas Tech 42-17 was the worst loss Iowa State has experienced all season. Then again, Texas Tech was also the best team they faced all season, and a large number of dropped passes, along with a running game lacking an explosive threat of any kind, doomed ISU's offense in the first half. The end of the game they had less than 300 total yards.

The defense gave up 42, but they did force 3 turnovers, and prior to this game were ranked 36th overall in yards allowed-a definite improvement over being in the 110's.

So at the half way point with Gene Chizik and the new coaching staff, on which ISU's athletic director has invested an "all in" gamble with, is there an early verdict? Keeping in mind how much is at stake, with ISU desperately taking maybe their only chance to become a feasible multi-sport competitor at the division one level, is the investment paying off?

First of all, although Iowa State was 4-8 last season, two of those games were barely won and controversially won, followed by edging UNI by one in a game they should have lost. The upset over Missouri was a fluke, and it happened to send the popular McCarney off on a high note. So ISU was about 11 pts away from 0-12, and those two giant recruiting classes from 4-5 years ago, the two that were ranked around 33rd and 38th? An extraordinary number of those recruits were complete wash outs, leaving the cupboard pretty bare.

The good news for ISU fans is their one win was against Iowa-the bitter in state rival. The fact that Iowa is going to struggle to avoid their second straight losing season could also help open up ISU's chances of seizing in state talent, if they improve fast enough. The other good news is that while they were routinely blasted last season, every game except the Texas Tech game was extremely close, and Tech may not be a Top 25 team, but they probably should be.

While LB Alvin Bowen and NT Ahtyba "Tuba" Rubin will be huge losses, JUCO recruit and starter CB Allen Bell looks like a talented corner, and with two more years, he could be a complete shut down corner by his senior year. CB Chris Singleton and SS James Smith both look like potentially talented starters, and the extreme youth of the front seven, gives the future a bright look. Wayne Bolt has done an excellent job coaching, taking a defense that lost 3 of its 4 best players, and was ranked 110, and they're playing at 36th, despite an obvious lack of talent. If ISU can bring in some more talent, this could become a very formidable force.

On offense, the offensive line looks young (they replaced 4 graduating starters-the 5th was a freshman last year), but they're already much better than last year's group at run blocking, and even seem better at pass blocking. With one freshman, two sophomores, and two juniors, and several young promising back ups as well, this line has a great future, and JJ Bass at RB looks like the real deal. Young talented back ups also give ISU fans hope, as well as a stable of young, talented, dual threat quarterbacks.

One place ISU never has to worry is WR. They're seven or eight deep with talent-but they could use more speedy game breakers. With the FB and TE also freshmen, there is a huge youth movement at ISU.

In addition to this, if there is another bright spot it's that this school has new systems on both offense and defense, as well as a radical upgrade in conditioning. With how much more demanding the off season work outs were, it's possible a lot of the kids on the team are just tired, because it takes time to radically ratchet up a work out. Next year they should be bigger, stronger, faster, and used to the new system. A large playing of back ups this season also means there will be better experience and depth all through the roster.

There isn't much hope for this season. In a Big 12 North that looks strongly resurgent, ISU definitely missed out on their best chances to ascend to a consistent Top 25 program. That being said, their youth levels are far more than the other teams in the north, and while they were blown out a lot last year, they're playing competitively this season. The sheer number of turnovers from senior players also makes you wonder if there will be a strong amount of "addition by subtraction," as turnovers cost them the UNI, Kent State, and Toledo games, meaning ISU could be 4-2 instead of 1-5, and a turnover even sank their chances against Nebraska, as a pick six in the red zone finished them off.

The future does look good, and the coaching (minus special teams) has been very solid. Any additional win this season has to be considered an upset, but I wouldn't be surprised if they still managed one more, and managed to scare another team. If recruiting can improve, this looks like a base that has a lot to look forward to, but that can all be lost if the team gives up in the second half of this season. It will be interesting to see how they answer Coach Chizik's call to keep fighting.

History of the Cy-Hawk Trophy

A recent addition to the Iowa State-Iowa rivalry

The Cy-Hawk Trophy is awarded to the winner of the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry football game. It is actually a relatively new addition to the rivalry game, only appearing in 1977, when the game resumed after a decades long hiatus.

The Cy-Hawk trophy was donated by the Des Moines Athletic Club, intended for use as a prize for the rivalry game's winner. That game was the first time the two schools had met since 1934, meaning the rivalry had been put off for an incredible 43 years.

The trophy features a football, a running back in the classic stiff-arm pose, and the likenesses of Iowa State's Cy the Cardinal and Iowa's Herky the Hawk, to represent both of the I-A schools in the state.

Since the Cy-Hawk Trophy has been a part of the rivalry, Iowa leads 20-11. Here are all the winners of rivalry games played for the Cy-Hawk Trophy:

1977: Iowa 12-10

1978: ISU 31-0

1979: Iowa 30-14

1980: ISU 10-7

1981: ISU 23-12

1982: ISU 19-7

1983: Iowa 51-10

1984: Iowa 59-21

1985: Iowa 57-7

1986: Iowa 43-7

1987: Iowa 48-9

1988: Iowa 10-3

1989: Iowa 31-21

1990: Iowa 45-35

1991: Iowa 29-10

1992: Iowa 21-7

1993: Iowa 31-28

1994: Iowa 37-9

1995: Iowa 27-10

1996: Iowa 38-13

1997: Iowa 63-20

1998: ISU 27-9

1999: ISU 17-10

2000: ISU 24-14

2001: ISU 17-14

2002: ISU 36-31

2003: Iowa 40-21

2004: Iowa 17-10

2005: ISU 23-3

2006: Iowa 27-17

2007: ISU 15-13

Over all edge: Iowa 20, ISU 11, but ISU is 7 of the last 10.

So Who Is This Jack Trice?

One of the best, and most tragic, unknown stories in college football history

Jack Trice Stadium is home to the Iowa State Cyclones, a team that has one of the most loyal, though suffering, fan bases in college football. Who is this Jack Trice? Not a Heisman winner, not a coach, the story of Jack Trice is one of the best, and most tragic, unknown stories in college football history.

Jack Trice was born in 1902 in the town of Hiram, Ohio. He was the son of Green and Anna Trice. Jack's father was a Buffalo soldier, as well as a former slave. In his early life he attended East Tech High School in Cleveland, where he showed a strong early ability in athletics, and he was a star athlete.

When his football coach, Sam Willaman (coach 1922-1925), was named head coach at Iowa State, this opened the door for Jack Trice and six other athletes to follow him west. Trice enrolled at Iowa State College and planned to major in animal husbandry. His goal was to settle in the South after graduating and use his education to help black farmers in that area.

Jack Trice was known as a very smart and studious young man who had an incredible work ethic he inherited from his family. Despite his participation in college football, he still managed to pass 45 college credits with a 90 percent average, or A- average.

Since there were no athletic scholarships back in that time period, Jack put himmself through college (not to mention supported his wife and his mother) by working various odd jobs. This makes his participation in football, and his excellent grades in his studies, all the more impressive.

On the football field Trice continued his tradition from high school and was an exceptional player on the defensive (interior)line.

He played on the freshman team in 1922, and by the following year was considered by many to be all-conference caliber, with an extremely bright future ahead of him.

But the promising career abruptly ended in tragedy. Trice played in the season-opener, a 14-6 win over Simpson College on Sept. 29 in Ames. He then traveled with the team to Minneapolis the following weekend for an Oct. 6 showdown at Minnesota.

Iowa State was playing a strong defensive game that day, and against a very strong Minnesota team trailed by only four points, 14-10, at the half. Stories of the game vary, but there are many stories that include an amazing amount of brutality and late hits, all aimed at the black Jack Trice during the game, who continued to play on.

It was during intermission that Trice complained to his coaches about a sore left shoulder, but he insisted, and did, return to action in the second half.

Midway through the third quarter, a frustrated Minnesota team ran a play off left tackle. Trice immediately saw that he wouldn't be able to reach the ball carrier, so he threw himself in front of the Minnesota interference in a roll block to allow his team mates to get to the ball carrier. He was toppled over on his back and then trampled on, and by most accounts, brutally assaulted by a group of Minnesota players right there on the field.

Trice was brought out of the game, obviously injured badly. He insisted that he still wanted to continue playing, but the coaches wouldn't allow it after the last on field incident. Trice didn't return to the game, and would never play again.

According to newspaper accounts of the game, the crowd chanted, "We're sorry Ames, we're sorry." Doctors at a Minneapolis hospital allowed Trice to return to Ames with the team, which ended up losing the game 20-17. They declared that his condition was not serious.

Trice rode back to Ames. He rested his body on a straw mattress and upon arriving to Ames he was ordered by the coaches to immediately go to the university hospital. The doctors there discorvere that Trice had badly broken his collarbone, which is why his shoulder hurt after the first half.

His condition worsened and he developed respiratory problems Sunday afternoon. A stomach specialist was summoned, but decided that surgery would be too risky considering his condition. No operation was ever performed.

At 3 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 8, 1923, Jack Trice died of

hemorrhaged lungs and internal bleeding throughout the abdomen from injuries sustained during the game.

The following Tuesday all classes were postponed and a funeral service was held for Jack Trice before 4,000 students and faculty members on the central grounds of campus.

A letter written by Jack Trice to himself on the eve of the Minnesota game was found in his coat pocket on the day of his funeral. The contents of that letter were divulged before the 4,000 mourners, and include one of the most amazing quotes ever by an athlete.

Jack Trice's letter read:

"My thoughts just before the first real college game of my life: The honor of my race, family and self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will. My whole body and soul are to be thrown recklessly about the field. Every time the ball

is snapped, I will be trying to do more than my part. Fight low, with your eyes open and toward the play. Watch out for crossbucks and reverse end runs. Be on your toes every minute if you expect to make good. Jack"

A memorial scholarship was created, and a memorial to Trice is located in the Jacobson Athletic Building's Gary Thompson Hall of Honor. A statue in his honor was unveiled in 1984 and was moved to the east side of the Jacobson Athletic Building in 1997, greeting visitors entering Jack Trice Stadium, which was renamed after him after a student discovered the history of behind the then almost forgotten football player.

A Chronology of Cyclone Misery, Part I

No one can ever accuse a Cyclones fan of not being a true fan!

As I start A Chronology of Cyclone Misery, let me say one thing off the bat: I am NOT bashing the Cyclones. I love the ISU Cyclones, and was there through the losing 15 in a row to Iowa, to the glory of Sage Rosenfels and McCarney's early success, to the recent disappointments.

But there is no denying that Cyclones fans may be the most tortured fan base of any sport on any level in the entire freaking country! But Cyclones fans remain loyal, remain strong, and I love the fierce passion that ISU fans have.

When I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, I was identified by my ISU t-shirt, and we talked Cyclones football. One gray haired woman corrected me on a slip up: "It's never 'just' an Iowa State fan," she told me. Amen!

If anything, the loyalty ISU fans show, and the hope and desire to win despite all this crap makes the entire program and fan base more impressive. But there are a lot of miseries, so while I'll get to the "Top Ten Can't Get Over the Hump" moments, and "Ten Worst Dry Spells in ISU History," we'll start off "easy" with ISU's all time record against Big 8/Big 12 opponents.

The North:

Nebraska 16-83-2

Missouri 34-56-9

Kansas State 48-38-4

Kansas 34-46-6

Colorado 13-47-1

The South:

Oklahoma 5-66-2

Oklahoma State 17-23-3

Texas 0-6-0

Texas A&M 1-7-0

Texas Tech 1-6-0

Baylor 4-3-0

The teams bolded are the only ones ISU has a winning record against. That's right, we only rise above Baylor and K-State. Though in fairness, if Chizik turns the program around and makes us a perennial contender, Kansas, and everyone in the south not named Oklahoma, are catchable over the next decade or two.

This means ISU's all time Big 8/Big 12 record is:

173-381-27, for a measly .312 winning %

Yet Jack Trice Stadium is sold out for the year, and the fans keep fighting and keep hoping. Despite having less to stand on than most other BCS programs, we don't toss the towel in.

Now that's something to be proud of. And going through all this torture will only make it all the sweeter when we are year in and year out a big time college football program.

Look for part two early next week.

It Just Gets Crueler and Crueler

Finding new ways to lose

Against Toledo this week everything looked like it was going great. The defense played hard, the offense woke up, and we had a two score lead with less than six minutes left in the 4th quarter.

We should have known better. I'm not going to re-open the wounds by going through it all again, but ISU found a way to lose that was so spectacular even ISU fans (who are used to expecting the worst) simply could not believe it.

But there are bright sides. The young offensive line still is looking better and better and should be a strong point by next year, if not by the end of this season, the offense woke up and exploded, and this team played hard all the way through. You hate to say "It was a fluke," (to sound like a Hawks fan) but it really was.

If the season started over this team would be 4-0. It would be an ugly 4-0, and that may not mean much now, but given time I think as this coaching staff learns to use what they have and gel with the players, this is the right group to lead ISU out of the darkness. Expect 2-3 more wins (all upsets) this season. I just don't see this team quitting.

Anyhow, this has inspired me to do research on what has to be the unluckiest program in college football. I'll return with more on what is loosely entitled "A Chronology of Misery"

Near the Beginning of ISU Football--Pop Warner

A Long Time Ago, in a Union with 44 States...

I'm not sure if this is the year that Iowa State football began or not, but it is the earliest schedule I've found so far. In fact, so far my research shows that Cyclone football almost definitely played some games in 1892, but the first schedule I can find is from 1895.

Sadly, that may have been the time of ISU's (or then, Ames College) best coach. You might have heard of him. His name is Pop Warner, and his first season as head coach, in 1895.

For those interested in the first full season schedule, here's how ISU football began:

1895 Iowa State Schedule

9/15 at Butte A.C. (not 1A) Loss 10-12

9/26 at Purdue Loss 0-6

9/28 at Northwestern Win 36-0

9/30 at Wisconsin Loss 6-28

10/12 at Sioux City A.C.(not1A) Win 6-0

10/19 at Minnesota Loss 0-24

10/28 at Iowa (not 1A) Win 24-0

Total Record: 3-4-0

It wasn't the best start, and it looks like a modern Big Ten schedule. On a bright note, the first victory in the classic Iowa State-Iowa rivalry went to Iowa State.

Iowa State was an independent and what really caught my attention was not having a single home game, and also that one stretch of three games in six days.

So somewhat inauspicious, but this was the first full season for the team that would become the ISU Cyclones.

Bits & Pieces, Cyclones pre-Pop Warner

A smattering of games before ISU's first head coach

I've been doing a lot of research to try to piece together the full history of Iowa State football, and I'm going to start early and work to modern day, even if that does seem the opposite of relevance.

I already did a piece on the Iowa State Cyclones' first full season, coached by the legendary Pop Warner, but there were games played by Iowa Agricultural College, as ISU was known as back then. As always, confirming this information, especially since I'm not living in Iowa and so don't have access to microfilm, but to the best of my knowledge this is all accurate. If anyone has another source saying otherwise, please let me know.

So here's ISU, pre-1895, for the two people in the world other than me who are probably actually interested ;)

The first game for ISU was in 1892, when they played two games and went 1-0-1, coached by Ira C. Brownlie. The tie occurred in ISU's first ever game, as they tied a team from State Center 6-6.

1893 wasn't so nice, as the team played three games and lost all three under coach W.F. Finney.

1894 may have been Iowa State's best overall season, at least in the old era. Bert German was the coach of an ISU team that went a powerful 6-1-0, capping off the sweet season by beating an already extremely bitter rival: the University of Iowa, 18-16.

The next season legendary Pop Warner would help coach ISU, while Bert German would manage. It was in this season of 1895 that the Cyclones got their name. Prior to this, they were just the Cardinals, but they were playing a Northwestern team that was expected to destroy ISU.

Instead, ISU routed heavily favored Northwestern 36-0, and the newspaper in Chicago commented that Northwestern mine as well have played an Iowa Cyclone--the summer before Iowa had been ravaged by a lot of tornadoes that were referred to as cyclones.

The name has stuck ever since.

Why is Iowa seen as such a big deal?

Despite some disasterous seasons, ISU isn't far behind

In the long scheme of college football history, the University of Iowa has had a much longer and storied tradition than rival Iowa State. But there is a perception that Iowa has consistently been a national title contender while Iowa State is the dregs.

The highs Iowa have experienced versus Iowa State may seem higher, but there is a perception that the Hawks are perenially national title contenders while the Cyclones would be better off as a mediocre I-AA team. That's not what the recent numbers say.

Iowa does definitely have a slight edge overall, but Iowa State has absolutely owned the rivalry, and as any Ohio State or Michigan fan can tell you, that definitely counts for something.

Hawkeyes/Cyclones Comparison Last Ten Years:

The "Dominant" Iowa team: 58-51 overall record, 2 Big Ten titles, 3-3 bowls, highest ranking: 8th, 2 losing seasons, 1 BCS game.

The "Cakewalk" Iowa State team: 50-58 overall record, 2-3 bowls, highest ranking: 6th, tie for Big Twelve North title, 2 losing seasons.

Most of Iowa's success came in two seasons: the second which resulted in an 11-1 season, Big Ten Title, and their BCS game where USC absolutely dominated them. Their only loss before that? The one and only Iowa State, who were ranked as high as 6th before a murderous schedule and lack of supporting cast around Seneca Wallace doomed them--despite some very close games against excellent Texas and Colorado teams.

In addition, in the rivalry, Iowa State is 7-3 out of the last 10 games--including one span of 5 in a row. As far as rivalries go, that's dominance.

Iowa has had a better run. They have one BCS title to ISU's none, 2 Big Ten titles to ISU's one shared Big 12 North title, one more bowl win and eight more victories. But many of those accolades came four or five seasons ago. ISU has dominated the rivalry, and the two programs are not that far apart in the now.

The common belief that Iowa is light years beyond Iowa State is ludicrous--and if they had to play Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech consistently, they would be seenas what they are: a mid tier program struggling to regain momentum.

Both teams are mediocre this season, though Iowa will end up with a better record in a terrible Big Ten conference, while ISU has to deal with Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, and Texas Tech.

The difference between bowl records is a Hail Mary that gave Iowa a win, with the still controversial FG that ISU fans still swear should have given them a victory over Alabama.

Iowa has done better, but ISU is in rebuilding mode while Iowa seems to be declining. Iowa has a cup cake schedule in a mediocre Big Ten and shouldn't have any problem making a bowl, while the heavily rebuiling Iowa State is showing some strong signs of life.

It'll be interesting to see how these teams play out. Iowa may have a better over all record, but they are definitely not dominant: unless a 3-7 rivalry record counts :)

Best Links on Iowa State Cyclones Football

Best on the Cyclones, past and present.

Believe it or Not--There are Iowa State Books!

And the Cyclones Fans All Say...Booya!

7-3 in the last 10 of the rivalry

To say the beginning of the Gene Chizik era started off rocky is a fantastic understatement. But as any fan of a team with a long time rivalry can tell you--a big upset of a rival can suddenly fix everything.

After being upended opening weekend by Kent State, and then shocked by I-AA University of Northern Iowa, many Cyclones fans, myself included, who were so enthusiastic about this season were stunned, wondering what happened, already fearing the worst...what if AD Jamie Pollard's all or nothing gamble to make ISU athletics permanantly relevant was being headed by the wrong man.

Coach Chizik led the Iowa State Cyclones to a fantastic 15-13 upset victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. Senior kicker Bret Culbertson, a former walk on, was 5/6 kicking field goals after starting 0/3 this year. Culbertson was known as one of the most clutch kickers in ISU history--except when the FG was game winning. It's good to see him the hero.

This game showed that although this team is severely lacking in experienced talent, this team plays hard and may still steal out a few more wins this season.

Congradulations to Coach Chizik and the Iowa State Cyclones! Hopefully this will be the first of many great wins to come.

Great Iowa State Cyclones Stuff on eBay

For that ISU stuff that's so hard for out of state fans to find.

Hope everyone liked it. Feel free to say hi!

Reader Feedback

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    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice! I'm adding this to my Iowa Quiz lens (in progress).

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      nice lens.. i have one about rivalries in sports. feel free to check it out!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Nice lens.

    • katiyana profile image


      11 years ago

      We'll be welcoming the Cyclones to Lincoln on Saturday, unfortunately I'll have to hope they have a disappointing visit, but I like your lens!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very cool lens! I was wearing my red and yellow the last showdown with Iowa. YEA!! I also live in Iowa.


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