Head to Head: What’s the most important moment of Iowa State’s regular season?

Iowa State’s defense celebrates after linebacker Mike Rose intercepts a deflected pass during Iowa State’s game against Oklahoma State on Oct. 24 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Matt Belinson

It was a historic regular season for the Cyclones on the gridiron in 2020.

Finishing with an 8-2 overall record and a 8-1 Big 12 record while finishing in sole possession of the regular season standings, Iowa State finally turned the corner as a program and has set itself up for even more unprecedented success.

So as Iowa State gets ready to head to its first Big 12 Championship game in program history, the Iowa State Daily sports editors decided to go “Head to Head (to Head)” to debate what was the most important moment in Iowa State’s 8-2 regular season.

Belinson: Latrell Bankston’s fourth-quarter sack against Texas

Without this play by Bankston, who knows where Iowa State is right now.

Obviously, Iowa State dominated West Virginia a week later and would officially clinch a shot in the Big 12 Championship but with that said, Bankston’s sack on Sam Ehlinger won not just one of the biggest games of Iowa State’s season, but in program history.

This sack pushed Texas back to kick a 58-yard field goal on fourth and 17 with three seconds left. Texas kicker Cameron Dicker barely missed the huge kick, so who knows, without Bankston’s sack, that game might go to overtime and the Cyclones might have lost.

Douglas: Kene Nwangwu’s kick return against Oklahoma

In a crucial game for the Cyclones and Sooners, the teams were tied 23-23 in the fourth quarter when Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy fumbled, leading to an Oklahoma touchdown.

With 8:17 left and a touchdown deficit, the Cyclones were looking at a tall order to play from behind against the Big 12 powerhouse Sooners, but redshirt senior running back Kene Nwangwu completely shifted the momentum back in the Cyclones’ favor.

Iowa State could still be in good position in the Big 12 without Nwangwu’s ensuing 85-yard kick return, setting Brock Purdy up for a rushing touchdown to tie the game.

The game against the Sooners has ended up being the biggest win of the year and it took the Cyclones from a shaky start to the season to a legitimate contender.

Nwangwu’s play is looked at as the biggest play in that game, but it should be looked at as the biggest play all year for the best Cyclone team in 108 years.

McDaniel: Isheem Young interception against Oklahoma

For my moment of the season, I think I’ll turn to the call by “The Voice of the Cyclones” John Walters:

“Rattler wants to throw it. A play action, he delivers deep down the middle field AND IT IS INTERCEPTED BY ISHEEM YOUNG AND THE CYCLONES HAVE THE FOOTBALL!”

While I completely agree with Zane that the Kene Nwangwu kick return shifted the momentum, I think Iowa State defensive back Isheem Young coming down with the game-sealing interception was bigger.

This was one of the first times this season where we were able to see Iowa State step up when it needed to the most and paved the way for where the Cyclones are now.

Not only that, but this one pass may haunt Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler heading into the Big 12 Championship game.