What do Iowa and Iowa State fans have in common? Neither one of them went to school at Iowa!
That ageless joke is the epitome of what it's like this time of year around the state. It's our annual rivalry game between my Iowa State Cyclones and the more-liked Iowa Hawkeyes. But the support for my Cyclones always seems to be the minority. The reason being is because of that joke. So many more people like the Hawks simply because it's the "cool" thing to do. Not because they went actually went to school there. It makes me even more glad that I'm not a bandwagon fan but an actual proud ISU grad of the Class of 1993.
I did discover something new this weekend though. I used to think that all Iowa fans as a whole are very obnoxious which made this time of year rather aggravating. I have found that's not entirely the case. The majority of the Iowa fans that are that way are the ones who didn't even go to school there at all. In fact, they get down right offended when you accuse them of being "bandwagoners". The actual Iowa grads as a whole are some classy folks that are just as respectful as us ISU grads. I guess it stands to reason that those folks who didn't attend either school but support Iowa are a little defensive. We all know the truth can hurt sometimes.
As for the game, I fully intended on going. I didn't have a ticket but that wasn't going to stop me. I figured if I got there early enough that I could get some scalpers selling tickets so me and G could get in. Of course if you've seen my earlier post you'll know that my health wasn't allowing that to happen. The cold/flu that I had Friday got worse come gameday. I wasn't going anywhere. I had to watch the game for the comforts of my living room couch while heavily medicated. Struggling to fight off sleep that the meds were trying to impose on me.
I was getting highly encouraged with my Clones after that first drive. They moved the ball nearly effortlessly down the field on the Hawks. It was pretty evident that they were going to get on the board first. Even it would just be a field goal. But then the old Clones that we all hate to see emerged. A snap too high caused a turnover in the red zone. Zero points. Worse yet, before you knew it, the Hawks were up 7-0 by the end of the first quarter. I tried to remain optimistic though. It wasn't that long ago in this series that ISU was once down 24 points by the close of the first quarter.
Halftime came sooner than you know it. The score was knotted up 10-10. There were more than a few signs to keep us Clone fans encourage. One was the fact that Iowa was missing that one component that had normally been one of their trademarks. Their quarterback was pretty sorry. He was so impressionless that I had to look up his name while writing this so I could reference him here. James Vandenberg was making some horrible plays. He was overthrowing and underthrowing receivers. If he were even a little consistent then this wouldn't have been a game.
What worked well for us was our quarterback Steel Jantz was the exact opposite. I came into this game very leery about that position. It didn't seem as though anyone had solidly proven themselves in the season opener against Northern Iowa. But apparently Coach Rhoads knew something all of us didn't. Jantz did just about everything right. Hitting receivers on the money, scrambling to get good yards, just making the right plays when they were needed. Plus, he had the perfect name for a quarterback. It sounded like it was straight out of some Hollywood sports movie script.
When it came to the final score of regulation, I had a strange feeling that Coach Rhoads would have a Nebraska flashback and go for the win. I wouldn't have blamed him at all if he did. The conditions were optimal with the Clones playing at home and momentum going their way. Instead, he went for the regular 1-point conversion which led to the first overtime in this 100+ year-old series. There really has never been overtime ever before in this series? My body really picked the wrong time to be sick.
I had another bad feeling going into the overtime. That nameless Iowa QB seemed to be finally clicking just a little. Apparently not enough though. You can never underestimate the determination of a Cyclones squad led by Coach Rhoads. Especially while playing under a newly renovated scoreboard. It may have taken 3 overtimes, but my Clones prevailed 44-41. We are able to hold bragging rights for the next year. But most of all, we are able to shut up all those bandwagon fans that have never had a single semester credit at the University of Iowa. Man it feels good to be a Cyclone!