Weather delays, missed opportunities leave Cyclones kicking themselves


Garrett Heyd / Iowa State Daily

Iowa and Iowa State square up for the snap during the Cy-Hawk game Saturday. The Cyclones lost 18-17.

Noah Rohlfing

Calling the 2019 Iowa State-Iowa game a Cy-Hawk game like no other would be selling this edition of the in-state rivalry short. 

It was a game that had everything. The only thing it didn’t have was a full-blown tornado — but what it did have was the longest combined weather delay in Iowa State history, as the skies conspired to delay the most-hyped edition of the rivalry since its return in 1977 for two hours, 55 minutes.

During the second of two lightning delays, the heavens opened up and torrential downpours put the rest of the game in doubt. Students stormed the field after catching security guards napping, providing some confusion and humor to a situation that left Iowa and Iowa State fans alike frustrated — and that ended in an 18-17 Iowa win.

Yet, at around 6:50 p.m., the game resumed play to the delight of a still nearly-full Jack Trice Stadium.

A trick-play after the first delay and a 73-yard touchdown coming out of the halftime break gave Iowa State a jolt of energy and put the Cyclones in the lead 14-6, with quick strikes and play design doing a number on the Iowa defense.

The crowd responded by getting loud — louder than the press box thought it would be with such a long delay and torrid weather. 

But after all the circumstance and the stoppages, it turned into what this game was always going to be: a slugfest. Both defenses were strong, and both offenses were held under 20 points for the game.

Iowa kept itself in the game with field goals — four of them, in fact — and Iowa State did its best to keep the Hawkeyes in the game with small mistakes and missed opportunities.

“The main thing for us is, we’re not far off,” said coach Matt Campbell. “But it’s execution and detail that’s going to make the difference.

“Our kickoff return was atrocious. Cost us big-time in the football game tonight.”

Chances of note included two missed interception attempts — one by Mike Rose early in the third quarter and a late chance from three separate Cyclones in the end zone, none of whom could bring the ball down — and the Hawkeyes scored six points off of those almost-turnovers. 

It’s been four years since Iowa had a turnover in the Cy-Hawk game.

The offense chipped in with a few self-inflicted wounds of its own. In the second quarter, Purdy fumbled while going to the ground after a first-down gain and gave the Hawkeyes possession. 

“I was just falling down and I think it was a linebacker that just got his hand in and got enough of it to make it come loose,” Purdy said. “It came out, so yeah, it hurt.”

The Cyclones came back from Purdy’s mistake and put themselves in a position to win the game. But then in the second half, multiple offensive penalties at bad times stopped Iowa State from getting what it felt it deserved from those possessions. 

Particularly on a fourth-down play with less than three minutes left and a one-point deficit. 

Iowa committed a pass interference penalty that would have given Iowa State a first down inside the Hawkeyes’ 30 yard line. 

But there was a flag in the Cyclones’ backfield, too. 

A holding call canceled out the penalty and a Brock Purdy overthrow of Deshaunte Jones gave the ball back to Iowa.

“It’s something that we practiced over and over,” Purdy said of the throw. “He saw a certain thing, I saw a certain thing and we were just off the page.”

With backs against the wall, Iowa State’s defense forced a stop and the Cyclones were poised to get the ball back with 85 seconds to get into field goal range. 

But then Datrone Young incidentally ran into Deshaunte Jones as the senior wideout was about to make a fair catch. The ball ricocheted off of Jones’ back and into the waiting hands of Devonte Young for the Hawkeyes.

“I fair caught it because I [saw] the gunner coming down, and when I looked down, Speedy [Young] had ran into me,” Jones said. “The ball hit me in the back, and that’s really all I remember.”

The Cyclones shot themselves in the foot one too many times, and instead of tasting a program-defining win, Iowa State ended a long, strange Saturday kicking itself and pondering what might have been.