Iowa football: Hawkeyes thresh Cyclones’ coronation with a combine. Nothing's changed.
Rece Davis welcomed fans to the broadcast and the Cyclones onto the field by saying Iowa State “commandeered” Iowa’s black uniforms.
The Hawkeyes commandeered everything else on Saturday.
The guest picker? Ashton Kutcher, noted Hawkeyes fan.
The transportation? The Hawkeyes combine that made its tailgating debut at the 2018 Kinnick opener.
The mascot head? Lee Corso donned Herky.
The dignity? Corso brought out the Cy-Hawk Trophy so the Cyclones fans could see it, since they hadn’t won it in so long, much to the delight of the aforementioned Kutcher at his side.
The trivia question? A first-round draft pick stat, with Iowa State as the punchline.
All advantage Iowa.
But most important of all, the Hawkeyes commandeered the game.
Sideline reporter Holly Rowe asked Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz afterward what it was like to declare “Iowa is still here” with a 27-17 win over the 9th-ranked team as No. 10.
Ferentz was either caught off guard, satisfied or even a little emotional as he took a beat and said, “Well … yeah” and laughed a bit awkwardly before adding, “You’re right about that,” finally finding his way back to his typical script.
Laurence Fishburne might not be in the new “Matrix” trailer, but Iowa fans can shout from the rooftops, upper deck or electronic-interstate-sign-shaped scoreboard in their best Morpheus voice, “We are still here!”
Because the coronation of the Cyclones was put on hold by a defense that already had plenty of attention coming into the season thanks to its 25-points-or-less streak, but now has the Hawkeyes on the brink of the Top 5.
“Polls in September, they really don’t mean a lot,” said Ferentz, who has finished seasons in the Top 25 9 times, including the last 3. Iowa State has done it 3 times ever, including last year.
The Hawks have won 5 consecutive games against ranked opponents dating to 2019. Remember those 2 tough opponents to start 2021? 2-0. Scoring 37 points off 7 turnovers helps. A ton.
Iowa is still the Hawkeye state, no matter how many experts predicted a playoff appearance for the Cyclones based off one [checks notes] 9-3 season. (That first 10-win season gets tougher to achieve with each loss, guys.)
For every statistical model that simulated Iowa State’s way into the College Football Playoff (twice!) or insider who tried to get you to forget about stats that favor recruits over coaches, or late night hosts who just straight up picked the ‘Clones for the CFP, there’s an Iowa State fan who’s seen the truth with their own eyes. Every year under Matt Campbell. He doesn’t beat Iowa.
“Somewhere along the line I have failed this team to be prepared for this moment,” Campbell said after the game.
You have to feel for the young Cyclones fans at their first big Cy-Hawk game. Their own fanbase won’t accept them “because you can’t be a fan unless you went to school there.” And now they know heartbreak, delivered by a Tigerhawk-emblazoned combine that parted the red sea — or was it the black and white sea?
“This is just not their day” was repeated often in the broadcast, especially as Iowa turned turnovers into 13 consecutive points. Take solace in the fact that the Iowa State graduates will feel strongly later this year that the ball would have bounced their way if only the game had been played later in the season. It happens every year, just like the Cy-Hawk trophy being hoisted by the Hawkeyes.
Never mind that Iowa State benched its ballyhooed quarterback. If the replacement succeeds, it will just feed more kindling to the fire that he was “The One” all along and Iowa “dodged” that gunslinger’s bullet passes.
And who knows, maybe Iowa State plays their way into the Playoff. After all, the 2002 Hawkeyes didn’t really hurt their BCS chances with a lone loss to the Cyclones.
But for one day in Iowa, for the 6th consecutive meeting, it was all about the Hawkeyes. Hype will leave with them on the bus out of Ames.
So much for “commandeering” black for the cardinal and gold. Instead, you’ll never see that uniform combo again. Too much pain weaved into that fabric now.
And for the Hawkeyes?
“I think we’ve got a good football team,” Ferentz told Rowe to end that postgame interview. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot to work on. It’s a lot easier doing it after a win.”
Classic Kirk, both the quote and walking out of Jack Trice Stadium a winner again.