Iowa has become Cyclone country


Freshman wide receiver Allen Lazard set career highs in receptions — five — and yards — 53 — during the Cy-Hawk Series game against Iowa on Sept. 13 in Iowa City.

Max Dible

“Little Brother is growing up.”

ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard uttered these words with a smile while standing on the second floor of his monument to ISU football — the Sukup South End Zone Club — only days before the 2015 season began.

“Little Brother,” the term co-opted by some Hawkeye fans and which lent a pejorative connotation by its most commonly applied inflections, has become a cliched insult.

An insult hurled obnoxiously between drunken patrons inside Iowa City, Des Moines and even Ames bars and littered throughout combative tweets and Facebook posts of the Hawkeye football faithful, who also favor referencing the Cy-Hawk match-up as “Iowa State’s Super Bowl.”

“It makes me laugh, literally, because how does the little brother beat the big brother three out of four times?” said running back Tyler Brown. “We should get more respect in our state, but respect is earned, so we’re going to go out and earn it.”

But haven’t the Cyclones earned it already?

Long gone are the days of perennial Hawkeye dominance on the football field. From 1983-97, Iowa won 15 consecutive matchups against its in-state rival, but since then the series has belonged to the Cyclones, who have won 10 of the last 17 games against the Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s nickname is the Hawkeye State, but sound the weather sirens because all signs over the past half decade point to this being Cyclone country — and I’m not just talking about Ames.

If the Hawkeyes can’t figure out a way to correct their recent struggles against the Cyclones at 3:45 p.m. Saturday inside Jack Trice Stadium, Little Brother will officially assume the mantle of Top Dog in Iowa.

And Brown, excited to step onto the field and contribute for the first time in this rivalry, couldn’t be happier about that.

“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Brown said.

One more win, and the Cyclones graduate to some new, more accurate and worthier moniker yet to be popularized and circulated.

One more win, and Little Brother will be all grown up.