Cyclones get an ‘unbelievable’ win over Iowa


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Fans cheer from the field after the Cyclones defeated the Hawkeyes 44-41 in triple overtime Saturday, Sept. 10. As soon as runningback James White scored the winning touchdown, the crowd stormed the field.

Jeremiah Davis

Sixty football minutes, three overtimes and one broken Cy-Hawk trophy later, Iowa State left Jack Trice Stadium a winner against Iowa for the first time since 2007.

The Cyclones took home the interim trophy after a 44-41, triple-overtime win Saturday.

“I don’t have trouble finding words very often,” said coach Paul Rhoads. “But I had trouble in the locker room, and trouble right now, because of the unbelievable performance of not just one team, but two teams out there.”

Iowa State overcame three fumbles and two missed field goals to beat Iowa in what was described by many as one of the best experiences of their football careers.

“This is the greatest game I’ve ever been a part of,” said quarterback Steele Jantz. “Because, for me, the gratification I get is how many people were affected by it, and how many people are so happy about it and how much it means.”

Jantz, who played a lot like a former Cyclone quarterback from California, made several plays in crunch time, racking up four touchdown passes, with 279 yards on 25-of-37 passing. He and teammates Kelechi Osemele and Shontrelle Johnson led the Cyclones in a game that will be remembered for years to come.

“This is hands down the greatest game I’ve ever been involved in,” Osemele said. “It was close the whole way, it was a dog fight. You don’t really get games like that too often.”

Osemele, who’s been battling a sprained ankle, reinjured it in the first quarter. He said fellow lineman Ethan Tuftee “pancaked” an Iowa lineman onto him, and said “there was no way I was staying out” after the injury.

Johnson, who rushed for 108 yards on 18 carries, felt a sigh of relief getting the win, as he fumbled with 9:34 left in the second quarter as the Cyclones were driving. The sophomore also expressed the emotion that it was the greatest win of his career.

“It was definitely a nail-biter and it was definitely a dog fight,” Johnson said. “The goal is to win the turnover battle, but at the same time, you’ve got to have a short-term memory and put that play in the back [of your mind] and keep going.”

Rhoads has notched three signature wins now at Iowa State — a win at Nebraska in 2009, a win at Texas in 2010 and now a win against Iowa. He was nearly overcome with emotion at the postgame press conference.

“Our football team overcame unbelievable adversity,” Rhoads said. “You don’t turn the ball over three times to one — twice inside your 10-[yard line] — miss two field goals against a program like Iowa and win too many times unless you have the resolve of the young men that I coach.”

The resolve Rhoads talked about was most evident on third- and fourth-down situations. The Cyclones were 13-of-20 on third-down plays and converted both of their fourth-down tries.

Players also took to Twitter following the game to express their excitement over the win. Jacques Washington tweeted: “Thanks for all the love fans! I told yal we were gonna bring it home to Ames!”

The win clearly meant a lot to Rhoads, who said he was glad to get a big win at home in front of the Cyclone fans. He also said he thought this was the best win he’s been a part of as coach at Iowa State, but for different reasons than his players.

“The best,” Rhoads said of the win. “Because it happened today.”