The Aughts in Review: Regarding Inconsolable State University

Continuing our look back at the decade that was in Iowa football, celebrating the highs and the lows -- and, hopefully, distracting us from the ongoing disaster that is Iowa basketball.  This series looks back at Iowa's results across the entire decade against every Big Ten foe, as well as Iowa State.  According to the alphabet, next up is mighty Moo U (don't blame me -- blame Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley), better known as Iowa State.

Play of the decade for this rivalry?  I think so.

IOWA STATE
Iowa vs. Iowa State in the 00s: 5-5

WINS
2003: Iowa 40, Iowa State 21
2004: Iowa 17, Iowa State 10
2006: Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
2008: Iowa 17, Iowa State 5
2009: Iowa 35, Iowa State 3

LOSSES
2000: Iowa State 24, Iowa 14
2001: Iowa State 17, Iowa 14
2002: Iowa State 36, Iowa 31
2005: Iowa State 23, Iowa 3
2007: Iowa State 15, Iowa 13

BEST WIN: Iowa 40, Iowa State 21 (2003)

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Matt Roth will bury you and dance on your grave.  For reals.

There was probably no win over the Cyclones this decade that was more impressive than the 35-3 demolition job in Ames this past fall, when the defense made Austen Arnaud the first of many quarterbacks to be inducted into the ranks of the bitchmade; it was the sort of win over ISU that Iowa hadn't seen since the days when Hayden strolled the sidelines of Kinnick and oversaw more than a few merciless beatings of our favorite little brother.  But as great as that win was, it can't measure up to the cathartic feelings engendered by the '03 win.  That win broke the five-year hold ISU had on the rivalry, a period in which Iowa fans sadly learned that wins over Iowa State were not their birthright. 

I was a senior at Iowa that year, so it was my last chance to see a Hawkeye win over Iowa State as a student (or so I thought at the time; oh, the wonders of student loans and additional degrees!); the thought of going through my entire college career at Iowa without ever experiencing a win over ISU in football was mortifying (especially since my brothers, alums from the 90s, had never seen Iowa lose to ISU during their student days).  Luckily, Iowa State in the post-Seneca Wallace days was a horrorshow and Iowa still had the likes of Mo Brown, Freddie Russell, Robert Gallery, Bob Sanders, and Matt Roth.  I'm pretty sure Bob Sanders and Robert Gallery threatened intense bodily harm to the rest of the team if they never beat Iowa State during their Iowa careers.  The team responded: Brown staked Iowa to an early lead before an ankle injury took him out of the game (and a big chunk of the season), Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway tackled everything that moved (thirty-two combined tackles, including three for loss by Hodge), and Sean Considine blocked two punts (both in the third quarter), one of which was recovered in the end zone.  If not for a bumbling offense (they gained only 243 yards on 10 first downs and had to settle for four Kaeding field goals), Iowa could have easily put up one of the garish point totals that Hayden so often laid on ISU.  But it was still a dominant win and, most importantly, it was a win over Iowa State.  After five long years of annoying "It's a Cyclone State!" taunts, order was finally restored.

WORST LOSS: Iowa State 36, Iowa 31 (2002)

OMG Seneca-mail is faster than email !!!11! 

If you've ever wanted to see how fast Kinnick Stadium could go from pure jubilation to abject horror and disgust, just watch the third quarter of the '02 Iowa-Iowa State game.  (On second thought, don't: you'll just want to claw out your eyes all over again.)  A 24-7 Iowa lead that had Iowa fans dreaming of sweet victory collapsed into a nightmare behind 23 straight Cyclone points in the third quarter.  Brad Banks hurt this thumb and fumbled twice in that quarter; ISU converted both turnovers into touchdowns.  A faux pas by Jermelle Lewis on the kickoff return led to a safety one play later.  Fred Russell rushed 15 times for 133 yards and a touchdown before halftime; unfortunately, he also injured his shoulder right before halftime and was barely seen in the second half.  It's impossible to think about that game and not ponder the "what ifs": what if Banks doesn't injure his thumb?  What if Russell doesn't get hurt?  But they did get hurt and Iowa did snatch cruel defeat from the jaws of victory -- and that elusive win over Iowa State would have to wait another year.

There were plenty of other heartbreaking losses at Kinnick Stadium in the Aughts, but it's hard to say that any of them felt quite as miserable as this one.  The pain didn't get any easier to handle over the course of the season, either; Iowa ran the table and headed to the Orange Bowl, while Iowa State fell off a cliff a month later, losing six of their final seven games (although Seneca Wallace did manage one really mindblowing play before he headed off to a career as Matt Hasselbeck's towel boy).  But for that loss to Iowa State would Iowa have been playing for the national title?  Probably not, but my dreams say FUCK YES.  And also: FUCK YOU, IOWA STATE; FUCK YOU SENECA WALLACE; FUCK YOU, LANE DANIELSON; FUCK YOU, JACK WHITVER; and FUCK YOU, DAN MCCARNEY. So yeah.  That 2002 game was like getting a colonic with Hawkeye Vodka: cheap, and way-too-fast to switch from brain-buzzing pleasure to gut-scorching pain.  And both left me with a wicked hangover.

IOWA STATE IN THE AUGHTS

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Even in their greatest decade in ages, there was still a lot of this for ISU in the Aughts.

First things first -- yes, this was ISU's most successful decade against Iowa ever, at least in terms of total wins (5).  (Percentage-wise, they had their most success way back in the '90s -- the 1890s, that is -- when they took three of four from the Hawks.  I never liked that century.)  So they have that going for 'em.  Three of the losses (2002, 2005, 2007) were three of the most miserable football-viewing experiences of my life.  But we all know that they excelled against Iowa this decade --  what else did they do?

Yep -- still funny.

They made their first bowl game in over twenty years (since the illustrious 1978 Hall of Fame Classic) -- and also won their first bowl game ever (the 2000 Insight.com Bowl).  They went to six bowls in total (winning three and losing three), in such desirable destinations as Shreveport (so nice they went twice!) and Boise (as well as a pair of trips to Tempe, to be fair).  They won as many games as they ever have in their history (9, in 2000) and, in fact, won more games than they had in decades; they finished .500 or better in six of ten seasons.  Twice (2004 and 2005) they were on the cusp of winning the Big 12 North, only for their kicker to shank needed field goals and cost them the game (and the division).  Granted, those shanks likely saved State from betting ass-pounded by Oklahoma and Texas in consecutive Big 12 Championship Games... but for a team that hasn't won even a share of any conference  title since 1912, when they shared something called the Missouri Valley Conference, even getting shredded by the likes of Vince Young or Adrian Peterson would have served as perverse validation for their efforts. 

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Chizik Nickels: the investment choice of kings gullible idiots.

The bottom fell out for State after Jamie Pollard fired Dan McCarney (only the man to lead them to all six of those aforementioned bowl games, beat Iowa for the first time in a generation, and transform the Cyclones from national laughingstock to halfway respectable) after a 3-9 season in 2006.  McCarney's crime?  Not being able to take Iowa State to "the next level." (Cringe.)  The man Pollard brought in to replace McCarney (Gene Chizik) did succeed in taking ISU to the next level -- or at least taking himself to the next level, failing upwards from a 5-19 record at Iowa State (including ten consecutive losses to close out '08) to a plum gig at Auburn.  But compared to the 90s (when ISU endured ten losing seasons, never won more than four games, and only had two highlights: finally beating Iowa and Troy Davis's Heisman run), the 00s were a banner decade for the Clones.  And I still fucking hate 'em.

PLAYER OF THE RIVALRY: Tyler Sash (SS, Iowa)

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Like I was going to miss an opportunity to use this pic again? (H/T to HawkeyeRecon, as always.)

Much like the Illinois series, there just aren't that many standout performers in this rivalry.  Nathan Chandler and Ricky Stanzi are the only two Iowa quarterbacks to go undefeated against ISU in the Aughts, but their stats are middling (even after throwing four touchdowns this year, Stanzi has as many interceptions as touchdown passes against ISU).  No running backs erupted for monster games (though Freddie Russell was on his way to something special before getting hurt in the '02 game), and while receivers made standout plays (Brodell's punt return in '08, Hinkel's diving catch in '04, DJK's tiptoe catch in '09) none of them were terribly consistent, either.  So why not throw a little more love on Sash, whose '09 performance gave us his "Motherfucking" moniker (and arguably the greatest piece of art ever to grace BHGP).  All told, Sash racked up 10 tackles (two for loss), three interceptions, and threw in a forced fumble for good measure.  Not too shabby.

RANDOM REMINISCES

  • Sweet as the '03 win was, the '04 one was an important bit of catharsis as well.  It was the first win in Kinnick since '96 (ugh) and exorcised a few demons from the '02 disintegration at Kinnick.  Thankfully, that made up for the fact that it was a shit-ugly game.
  • Of course, it looked like the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel compared to the '05 game, which was like gargling broken glass and chasing it with a shot of Drano.  That 23-3 victory was Iowa State's biggest in the series since 1978 (when they won 31-0, a year after they wore the FAILtastic "BEAT IOWA" jerseys) and led to the creation of Pollard's obnoxious billboard.
  • Iowa State hasn't scored a touchdown against Iowa since the second third quarter of the '06 game -- that's fourteen thirteen quarters for you non-math majors (which includes me, whoops -- ed.), which is pretty sweet.  Less sweet?  The fact that they somehow managed to win a game in that stretch.  (Fucking Bret Culbertson.)
  • Remember Scott Chandler's crazy catch from the '06 game?  You should.  (Actually, that game had a few great plays, like Tate juking some ISU defender out of his manhood and Marshal Yanda blocking an ISU guy into the next county.)
  • As always, Jamie Pollard remains inconsolable:

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