It took a few days for all of the WHO sports team to recover from an epic Iowa vs. Iowa State game and RVTV. Lot of work, but a great week with great people at the stops, and the capper on Saturday was beyond anyone's expectations.
I've heard it called the best game in the CyHawk series and there aren't many people arguing that. Sure, the 2002 game might have featured better players, and maybe it's a little more special to ISU fans in that it happened at Kinnick.
For my own two cents, it's the best college football game I've ever been at in person. Save a bit of a sloppy start with fumbles, both teams played at a high level. I'm always going to marvel at so many unbelievable plays that were made on both sides (though mostly by one Steele Jantz).
Speaking of Jantz, I'll take my medicine here. Granted I wasn't around when Seneca was doing his thing, but I've never been a great fan of bringing in JUCO quarterbacks. Seems like for every great one there are two who just disappear or are never a factor. ISU got themselves a special one. In two games Jantz has made more pressure plays (especially on 4th down) than most quarterbacks will make in an entire season.
I'm neutral in this fight (the only way I'd ever openly root against any Iowa school is if they played my alma mater), but I got to admit that I feel great for Paul Rhoads and the Iowa State community. It's been a rough couple of years and offseason (especially with the Big 12's fractures) and there are still many tough battles ahead in Big 12 play. The passion Rhoads has for this program is infectious and he has really changed the culture in Ames. On my twitter page I (somewhat) jokingly said Iowa State should start working on a lifetime contract extension for Rhoads. If he wins 6-8 games with this schedule that might be warranted.
And the game itself gave the series a shot in the arm at a time when some Hawkeye fans (wrongly so in my opinion) were using the last couple of CyHawk blowouts, along with ISU's conference uncertainty and scheduling issues, to question whether they should continue playing the series. Any question now?
All that said, the UCONN game Friday may end up being bigger than the Iowa game. The Hawkeye win should be a springboard, not the highlight of the season. The Cyclones can't afford to go out and lay an egg. A 3-0 start with the tough non-conference gets them halfway to bowl eligibility. Texas comes to town and the Longhorns have been a mess of late. With a bye week to prepare, 4-0 looks like a realistic possibility.
They mentioned it in postgame, and the Hawkeyes have not been a good tackling team. Tennessee Tech's little QB gave them fits all game. Jantz killed them because he could actually pass too. Looked a lot like last year with Persa and Pryor, and it's clear this D-Line doesn't have the kind of NFL talent we've been used the last few years right now.
I don't agree with any Hawk fan who says Iowa gave it away. For all their flaws at times, Jantz made play after play every time he was called upon.
The only thing that leaves me puzzled is the final drive in regulation. 1:17 left and two timeouts and they play for overtime. I keep hearing over and over again that it's "Kirk Ferentz Football". I get it, and normally I can see the logic in playing for overtime with a first time starter at QB on the road. But the problem is that James Vandenberg has been nearly flawless. I can't really remember many bad throws or balls that nearly were picked. Plus Mike Meyer had been automatic all game, hitting from as far out as 50 yards. Throw a couple of safe outs or slants, get in that 45-55 yard field goal range, and take a shot.