Calm, Cole, Collected: Netten seals the victory in Cy-Hawk game

Redshirt sophomore Cole Netten kicks the game-winning field goal during the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series game against Iowa on Sept. 13 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. The Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes 20-17.

Beau Berkley

IOWA CITY, Iowa – ISU kicker Cole Netten spoke softly and slowly after the Cy-Hawk game, sporting a smirk as he stared up at the video board.

It was hardly the kind of demeanor one expects from the man who just won the biggest regular season game on the Cyclones’ schedule.  

But with Netten, that’s just how he is. That’s how he has to be. 

Be sure to check out Daily sports reporters Alex Gookin and Ryan Young talk about the Cy-Hawk game in depth in their latest podcast here.

In the fleeting seconds of Sept. 13’s game against the University of Iowa, Netten trotted out onto the field for a 42-yard field goal to break a 17-17 tie and win the game. He lined up and missed the field goal, but Iowa had called a timeout before the ball was snapped, giving Netten a second chance. 

Netten began to set back up for another try, and while fans of both teams held their breath, Netten was laughing to himself. 

“He was smiling and laughing, and I was like I know he’s gonna make it because he’s not nervous and I turned around and said, ‘Nice practice kick. Now you gotta go out and win the game,'” said center Tom Farniok about Netten’s reaction to the miss. 

Netten did not make the same mistake twice. His 42-yard field goal went right down the middle, giving Iowa State the 20-17 lead with two seconds left on the clock. Iowa fumbled during their kick return, and the game was over. Iowa State won 20-17. 

After the game Netten kept his image of cool, calm and collected. 

“I’m just doing my job,” Netten said of his performance. “Kicking field goals, that’s all I do and that’s what I’m on the team for. Whether it’s a game winner or just another field goal, I’m just doing my job.”

Netten’s final field goal is what will be etched in the memories of the Cyclone fan base, but his final kick was not the only reason the Cyclones won the game. 

Quarterback Sam Richardson was dialed in all game, completing 25 of 37 passes for two touchdowns, including a jump pass to tight end E.J. Bibbs during the third quarter, which resulted in a touchdown. Richardson was helped out by his offensive line, led by Farniok, who gave the quarterback plenty of time in the pocket and didn’t allow a single sack. 

After fumbling and losing the ball on what would have been a sure touchdown in the final minutes of the first half, running back DeVondrick Nealy fumbled the ball again in the third quarter, but it was picked up by ISU lineman Jamison Lalk. 

But head coach Paul Rhoads said that he did not lose confidence in Nealy, and early in the fourth quarter Richardson found Nealy behind the defense for a 27-yard touchdown pass to put the Cyclones up 17-14. 

“The coaches stuck with him [Nealy], and he stuck with himself and his teammates stuck with him, and the next thing you know he’s catching a huge touchdown for us,” Rhoads said. 

Against Iowa’s offensive line, usually regarded as one of the best in the country, the ISU defense tormented the Iowa backfield, racking up four sacks and holding running back Mark Weisman to a 3.1 yard rushing average on the day. 

Defensive end Cory Morrissey had seven total tackles and linebacker Jevohn Miller had nine. Going against Iowa tackle Brandon Scherff, Morrissey was able to notch two sacks, the first time an ISU player has done so since Jake McDonough against TCU in 2012. 

T.J. Mutcherson also snagged the first interception of the season for the Cyclones, picking off Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock in the third quarter. Iowa State scored on the ensuing drive.

The wheels were turning for the offense, defense and special teams on Sept 13. So how exactly was this game won?

Rhoads said it was won between the ears. 

“One of the themes for the week was that we couldn’t have any doubt that we were going to win the game, and at halftime, down 14-3 and beating ourselves in a lot of ways, there was no hesitation,” Rhoads said. “It was an intent, focused group that was ready to go out and play the next 30 minutes of the football game. 

“They believed that they could win the game and they went out and physically followed up with that.”