At right around 2:33 p.m., God’s time, Akrum Wadley made one of the single greatest plays I’ve ever watched a football player make.
I’ve watched it about a thousand times already, but, hey, this is one of those we’re going to come back to for a long, long time.
AKRUM WADLEY MAKES MAGIC pic.twitter.com/obx9zNMtqs— HeavensBarstool (@HeavensHawkeye) September 9, 2017
In the hour or so prior to the final regulation offensive drive for Iowa, anyone with vested interest in the Hawkeyes winning this game went through an entire spectrum of emotions as the second half took a number of twists and turns.
On the second possession of the second half, Iowa drove 94 yards in 11 plays and looked like they would be unstoppable for the rest of the game. The offense was coming together and Nate Stanley even hit a damn FB and a backup tight end (twice!) during the march.
Iowa State’s defense didn’t have an answer for anything the Hawkeyes were doing and the crowd quieted at Jack Trice. There’s nothing better for taking the metaphorical wind out of a hostile crowd’s sails than a long, methodical drive.
For those of us watching the game at home and rooting for Iowa, it was elation, but also..
If you took the time to read my breakdown of Iowa’s performance against Wyoming, you’ll know I wasn’t particularly impressed with Nate Stanley, the offensive line, or the running game during Iowa’s win.
It’s not that they were exactly bad, but I wanted to see improvement this week. There was some — although that secondary... more on that Monday, but damn it was not good — improvements. Five touchdown drives of 79 yards or longer? Yeah, that’s a bit better than Stanley’s three turnovers against Wyoming.
Up 21-10, there was also this sense Iowa kind of had this game. Now look, I’ve been around the
CyHawk rivalry Iowa Football for years and yes, no lead is ever safe with any team I like, but... right after the drive that gave them the 11 point advantage, I was feeling pretty good.
The Hawkeye offense was humming along fairly well, Stanley looked a LOT more comfortable in what he was doing (even if he was missing the home runs) and the defense was playing fairly well.
At the half, Iowa State had 57 yards rushing and 118 passing. Not elite numbers, but workable. The Cyclones were just 1-of-6 at the half on third downs and Jacob Park was missing a lot of throws.
Iowa was the better, more talented team in this matchup and looked like it.
Then, out of nowhere, Iowa State marched right down the damn field and scored. And then they scored again. And again. Suddenly Iowa State was up 31-21 and honestly there was this feeling of..
I’ve been more or less annoyed all week about this game. The grey uniforms? Awful. The Cyclone athletic Twitter account stooping to the fans level? C’mon. Matt Campbell and the incomprehensible disrespect he has for Iowa? Pathetic. The Iowa State Barstool account? Even dumber than normal, which I didn’t know was possible.
Pettiness is my middle name, but even this past week was a bit much for me. There was something different about this year and while it starts with Campbell I think there was this deep feeling that I knew Iowa State was due to beat the Hawkeyes at some point in the near future.
To give Campbell a win this year would to be to invigorate an already frothing fanbase onto another level we haven’t seen in quite some time. A win this year would have been special. Iowa State would have been 2-0 with Toledo next week. A chance to be 3-0, a chance to build some momentum. The Cyclones might even be decent this year, but the Hawkeyes were able to steal the one sure thing that would have given Iowa State any tangible, long-lasting momentum — a win in Little Brother’s Super Bowl.
“But hold on and wait a minute, Jordan,” you might be asking yourself... “Aren’t you being the elitist asshole Iowa State fans think all Iowa fans are?”
Maybe, but it’s why I decided to go to a school with, you know, a football program that isn’t historically embarrassing. Anyways, if Campbell wins in his third try against Kirk, maybe he’ll be able to actually build the “CuLtUrE” the commentators of the game wouldn’t shut up about.
I still doubt it, but, alas.
As Iowa started to fall apart, there was a familiar feeling.
Being an Iowa fan is to taste the highest of the highs, but not quite be able to stay there. The Hawkeyes aren’t a football blueblood and probably never will be, but we have a stable and strong enough program to (usually) be able to compete with teams that are good enough to be in the conversation
But there’s always trips. Always. ALWAYS. And as Iowa let the lead slip away, well:
It just felt like another stupid loss to an inferior Iowa State team that Iowa had no business losing to.
Thank god Iowa remembered how to play football.
One 11 play, 92 yard drive later, an Iowa touchdown to new folk hero Ihmir Smith-Marsette and the second defensive line interception in as many weeks tied the game at 31-all.
There was Hope which turned out to be Fleeting Hope because Iowa’s secondary forgot how to secondary and gave up a touchdown. Suddenly we remembered what Despair felt like. These emotions were compounded into about 20 minutes or so of real time which is a lot to handle.
I think this is one time where the win probability chart does a bangup job of describing how we all felt.
Which brings us all the way back to one Mr. Akrum Wadley. Make no mistake, Wadley won this game for the Hawkeyes. Once he made the catch and somehow squirmed his way for that 46-yard run, I knew Iowa had this game in the bag.
There are some things you just don’t come back from, and giving up that type of play (and drive, really) when the Cyclones had this game won is backbreaking. Compounded by Iowa winning the overtime coin toss and set in stone when That Team Out West kicked a field goal instead of reaching the end zone, well, there’s only one feeling that comes with that.
If you don’t get at least a bit of joy, or at the very least satisfaction, from beating Iowa State... well, you’re lying to yourself.
Whatever it was, it was one of those games where the stats don’t really do it justice.
I still can’t get over the fact Stanley threw for five touchdowns and 333 yards. He’s the first QB since Chuck Hartlieb to do that.
Stan the Man put himself in some pretty damn good company on Saturday.
Stanley threw 5 TDs today. Behind just Chuck Long (with 6 twice) and Chuck Hartlieb.— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 9, 2017
The Iowa Hawkeyes are 2-0 with what should be an easy game against North Texas this week. This won’t be a year where Iowa looks back at the second game of the season and wonders how the hell it lost to Iowa State.
Oh, and for the first time, Kirk Ferentz has a winning record against the Cyclones.
Keep it rolling, Hawks.