I can count on one hand how many Iowa State Cyclone football games I have been to ever since I attended my first class there back in 1988. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, this was probably only my second time ever. It's not because I'm not a true fan. It's just because I was used to them sucking for so long that I never bothered to go. I just stayed in the same habit even when they turned the page and started having the occasional winning season.
I made the decision this year that I would switch that up and go to their season opener. It just made the most sense to choose that game. It was early enough in the season that the weather would still be warm enough to enjoy and outdoor game. It was also a pretty safe bet that they would come out with a win. An added bonus to that was their opponent was Northern Illinois who was known to be a formidable squad. That meant it should be a good contest.
The ticket choice was a no-brainer: it would be hillside for me and G. Those were the cheapest seats. I just wasn't sure about how great they would be given the location. Surprisingly, they really weren't that bad at all. As a matter of fact, the closer the team got to the end zone where we were positioned, the better those seats were. I didn't think G would take to them at first, but he was loving it. Although it may have not been the best overall view, it did put us closer to the action which kept G more engaged.
I tried to blend into the normal bleacher section at first. I found the one opening in the top flight security where they weren't checking tickets to make sure folks were in the right section. However, the longer I sat there, the more I realized something looked odd about the people around us. They were all fairly young. I had messed around and got right in the student section. No way that was going to work so back to the hillside we went.
I was anxious to see if Jack Trice Stadium would have the same type of electricity that many college stadiums are known for. They certainly got it off to a good start. The intro music playing came booming thru the sound system as the titantron showed the team slowly walking from the locker room to the tunnel. The closer they got, the louder the volume of the fans increased. I just wish that could have been maintained though. I think the design of the stadium being so open takes away from some of that volume that would normally lead to a better home field advantage.
The play selection in the beginning had me worried a little bit. The Cyclones were going back to the same excessive use of the quarterback run plays they had done last year. I was hoping they would get away from that predictable offensive game plan. It was good enough to get them a 7-6 record last year and a bowl win, but how well would it go over this year? No doubt our conference rivals will have caught on to that by now. Hopefully Coach Paul Rhoads was just being so trite because it was only Northern Illinois and not Big 12 play. We shall see.
There were of course some random things I noticed at the game which I tried to my best to catch in photos. Things like the following:
- That ISU Army ROTC dude who was in front of the student section trying to make sure students didn't wander onto the field was taking his job a little too serious
- The stormtrooper in ISU colors gets props for creative use of a stormtrooper uniform. However, it would have been better if his shoes would have better completed the costume
- It would have been nice if the t-shirt gun would have shot it off to areas other than just the student section. Of course it was students operating it so I guess that was to be expected
- The outside of the stadium looks pretty amazing at night. That pic didn't come out as well as I liked so I'll have to try again during their next night game so you can fully appreciate it.
Although it's not one of my finer photo albums, you can check out the pics in the appropriately named ISU Cyclone Opener 2010. Those hillside seats didn't allow for the best angle for some better pics. I may look into seeing if I can somehow score press pass access to get more unobstructed views in the future. Yeah...like that will happen. At least those seats did allow me and G to make appearances on national television. That's the pic you see here. I took the liberty of sharing it with everyone because if you blinked, you would have missed us. Fortunately, I'm quick with the pause button.