Cyclone football to honor seniors Saturday night


Jacob Rice

Anthony Johnson Jr. celebrates second career interception against West Virginia on Nov. 5.

Only two games remain in regular season football. The Cyclones will be back home Saturday night to take on Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders currently stand in sixth place in the Big 12 standings with a Big 12 record of 3-4 and an overall record of 5-5. While Texas Tech is coming off a 43-28 win over Kansas, they are 0-4 in away games.

However, the Red Raiders are No. 1 in the nation in plays per game. Defense coordinator Jon Heacock said Texas Tech has an up-tempo offense.

“We’ll have to play great football on our side,” Heacock said.

Saturday’s game will be the last home game for the Cyclones meaning that it will be senior night. Twenty-one players will be honored Saturday as they will take the field for the last time at Jack Trice Stadium. Some of those seniors include O’Rien Vance, Xavier Hutchinson and Anthony Johnson Jr.

“For me to go out and be able to play in this senior game, it means everything to me,” Vance said.

Heacock said this year’s senior group has taken a leadership role and realized that each player needs to work together to achieve success.

“It’s been unlike anything I’ve seen. I give them a ton of credit,” Heacock said.

While the outcomes of this season have not been ideal, Heacock said he’s not surprised that the seniors have continued to lead because of what he saw in the offseason and how they treated both the young and new players.

“It is very difficult for leaders to do that in tough times but that’s when you kinda see the real character of who they are and they are just who we thought they were,” Heacock said.

While Johnson Jr. chose to take his extra year due to COVID-19, Johnson said Vance has taught him to be a leader and has been a guide for Johnson along the way.

Hutchinson said the Cyclones’ record has nothing to do with the players a part of the Iowa State football program.

“The program’s future is bright whether people like to believe it or not,” Hutchinson said.

Emotions will also be visible on senior day.

“It’s an emotional day for all of us,” Heacock said. “It’s 60 minutes of football and it’s a lifetime of memories.”

Johnson said being a part of Iowa State football has given him the tools that he needs to be successful.

“The people and the moments here are what I cherish the most,” Johnson said.

The cold temperatures set to come to Ames may also bring different play from both teams.

“You certainly have to be mindful of problems that can occur,” offensive coordinator Tom Manning said.

Manning said having a plan and finding different ways to be effective will also be important.

Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. on FS1.