The weather was just far too nice to sit at home doing nothing Saturday. We were expecting a high of 85 degrees with perfectly clear skies. It was a year ago this time that we were getting hit with our first bout of snow. Now it's summer weather clear into October. On a Saturday even! Yeah...that was definitely a sign for me to check out the ISU game. Afterall, college football is the perfect activity for a Saturday afternoon.
The opponents this week was the Utah Utes. The #10 ranked team in the nation. I sure would like to know whose idea it was to put them on the schedule. They were ranked higher than the Hawkeyes who laid that beatdown on my Cyclones just a few short weeks ago. And Utah's been a football power for a minute, so I'm sure they knew when they made this schedule that this one would be an even more difficult game. But I just had a good feeling about ISU's chances for some reason. Boy was I mistaken.
I still didn't get to the game early enough to enjoy the full benefits of tailgating. Lisa from work has season tickets and invites me every week to stop by their tailgating tent. I figured 4:30ish would have been okay for a 6pm kickoff time. The only thing is we were running a bit late so we didn't get there until closer to 5. Folks were starting to pack up their stuff and head to the stadium by that time. I was still in time to get a good pork sammich and a rice krispie treat. In addition to seeing the marching band arrive. If I come to another game, I'll make sure to get their earlier to see the team arrive as well.
We had different seats this time around which made me venture to a different part of the stadium I missed the last time I was there. I can't believe I never noticed their Jack Trice Legacy wall. A very impressive memorial to one of ISU's finest student-athletes. G asked who he was and I gave him the Cliff Notes version of why he was important and what happened to him. He became fascinated after that. I swear he must have grilled me with a couple of dozen questions about Jack Trice. I was surprised I actually knew them all.
As for the game, I have to admit that the intro is always my favorite part about the games at Jack Trice. They pump Black Sabbath's "Crazy Train" thru the sound system while you see Coach Paul Rhoads leading the Cyclones thru the tunnel approaching the field. It kinda gives you chills a little bit. If the Clones were a better team, the whole thing might actually be intimidating. Of course the other team isn't on the field yet anyway so they can't see it for the intimidation factor to actually be effective.
The Clones got off to a great start for the home crowd. They put together a couple of good drives and had some great stops against a top-ranked offensive juggernaut. They ended the first quarter up 14-10. We were smelling an upset in the making. Austin Arnaud was actually playing decent for a change. All they had to do was keep up that pace for another three quarters and they could be one of the top stories on ESPN. It didn't quite turn out that way though.
Apparently the Utes woke up in the second quarter. All they needed was one back-breaking kickoff return to demoralize ISU and get the Utah squad motivated. They started going on a scoring frenzy and never looked back. Before we knew what hit us, they had went up 41-14 at the half. It was getting to the point where it was down right embarrassing. G and I made the decision at that point that we had seen enough. We could have stuck it out for another half, but I really didn't see point. We had witnessed enough of the carnage to know it wasn't going to get any better.
As we were leaving the game I continued to monitor it on my ESPN Sportscenter app. It goes off everytime there's a score in the game you're following. I swear that joker must have been going off every few minutes. It turns out Utah kept racking up the points to the tune of 68 for the day. I would find out later on Sportscenter that it was the most points Utah had scored in 27 years. Way to go down in the history books, Cyclones.
I have now been to more ISU football games this year than I attended in all five years of my undergrad. To be fair, I wouldn't really consider that a football team that was there during my time on campus. They were more like a bunch of thugs in football unis. At least the team we have now can actually win a few games. But I doubt I'll be going to any other games this year. Therefore, enjoy the ISU vs. Utah photo album as it will most likely be the last ISU football photo album of the year.