Monday Musings

In his latest bi-weekly, offseason column, our publisher tackles the subject of naming his all-time Iowa State football dream team...beginning with the players on offense he believes make up the best of the best in the 98-year history of Cyclone lore.

This is the time of year when breaking news and compelling topics are hard to come by, unless of course a scandal is unfolding.

Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case this offseason—thus far.

As a result, many of us in the sports media industry use this time of year to compile grandiose lists through painstaking research and/or uneducated hunches, since you the reader/listener/viewer have more time to digest and debate them.

This week's Monday Musings is just such a composition. A conversation starter, if you will.

Since its still late May, projecting the upcoming football season is still a little premature (I write this as I read my 2004 Sporting News Big 12 Preview). Breaking down the just-concluded men's basketball season has already reached the rigor mortis stage. And we've already discussed the upcoming decision of whether or not to retain Bruce Van De Velde's services as the athletic director at Iowa State University.

Therefore, even though I'm relatively new to the Cardinal-and-Gold bandwagon, I do know how to read a media guide. I also know Dan McCarney and Earle Bruce, a couple of pretty good sources on ISU gridiron success stories. Hence, it's time for me to name what I think is the Iowa State football dream team through the 98-year history of the program. We'll start this week with the offense, and then in our next column two weeks from now we'll give you the defense & special teams.

Quarterback—Seneca Wallace (2001-02)

Despite playing just two seasons in an ISU uniform, ranks third all-time in school history in touchdowns, second in passing yardage, second in pass completions, and first in total offense. His 3,245 passing yards in 2002 is far and away the best single-season total ever at ISU. From the highlight-reel run against Texas Tech, to the colossal comeback against Florida State, and the Big 12-record 22 completions in 24 attempts against Baylor. It's tough to overlook former Cyclone All-American George Amundson, but Wallace was Seneca-sational almost every Saturday. I won't ever forget the 493 yards of total offense in a game versus Missouri, either. Was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2001.

Running back—Troy Davis (1994-96)

Detractors can say what they want about the bad teams he played on, his fumbling problems in the pros, and his verbal fumbles at times while being interviewed. The bottom line is he's the only man to ever go for 2,000-yards rushing in back-to-back seasons in the 135-year history of intercollegiate football. That has to count for something. If you're a tailback, and you've done something guys named Barry Sanders, Archie Griffin, Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Ricky Williams, Jim Brown, and Ron Dayne haven't done, you're worthy of the College Football Hall of Fame, in my opinion. Rushed for over 100 yards in a game 21 times, had five 200-yard rushing games, and passed the century mark on the ground 17 consecutive games. Two-time All-American, Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1996, and the 1996 Big 12 Player of the Year.

Running back—Dexter Green (1975-78)

Led the Cyclones in rushing three consecutive seasons, including consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 1976 & 1977. The third leading rusher in school history with 3,437 yards. His 172 yards rushing in the 1977 Peach Bowl against N.C. State and 148 yards rushing against Texas A&M in the Hall of Fame Bowl rank as the top 2 postseason rushing performances in school history. Two-time All-Big 8 tailback and an All-American in 1978.

Wide receiver—Tracy Henderson (1982-84)

One of just three Cyclones ever to be named All-American twice in his Iowa State career. Ended his career as the Big 8's all-time leader in receptions, and the all-time Iowa State leader in passing yardage (a record since eclipsed by Lane Danielsen). Posted the best season for an ISU wideout ever in 1983, catching 81 passes – including 16 in a game against Kansas State – for 1,051 yards. That season he also became the first Big 8 wide receiver to ever post a 1,000 yards in receiving yardage in a single season.

Wide receiver—Lane Danielsen (2000-03)

The only other Cyclone wideout to break the century mark in receiving yardage in a season, this former walk-on from Dike also holds the school-record for career receptions (163) and career receiving yardage (2,690 yards). His 79-yard touchdown run on a reverse against Texas Tech ranks as the 10th-longest gain on the ground in school-history as well.

Tight end—Mike Busch (1986-89)

Hard to believe watching contemporary Cyclone football that any tight end could be utilized enough at Jack Trice Stadium to merit All-American status, and Busch is the one and only at his position to have done so. Was a first team All-American, and All-Big 8 as well, in 1989, the lone winning season coached by Jim Walden. Interestingly enough, was also an All-American in baseball as well.

Center—Ben Bruns (1997-2000)

Blocked for a 1,000-yard rusher in each of his four seasons as a Cyclone. Joined Polly Wallace (in 1920) as one of just two Iowa State centers to be named an All-American at his position during the memorable 2000 season that ended with a 9-3 record and top 25 national ranking. Also the last Cyclone football player to earn any postseason All-American acclaim. All-Big 12, and academic All-Big 12, as a senior as well.

Guard—Ed Bock (1936-38)

Iowa State's first consensus All-American at any position. Was also a two-time All-Big 6 selection. Plus, he was the first Cyclone to be inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame.

Guard—Geary Murdock (1970-72)

Tough to overlook my good friend Keith Sims, who enjoyed a solid and fruitful NFL career. However, the nod here goes to Murdock, who was named an All-American and All-Big 8 as a senior, while Sims wasn't. In fact, Murdock was one of four Cyclones named to All-America mention in a season that ended with a 31-30 loss to Georgia Tech in the Liberty Bowl.

Tackle—Karl Nelson (1979-82)

Probably the most decorated offensive lineman in Iowa State football history. Three times he was named the school's top lineman. A consensus All-American in 1982. Two-time consensus All-Big 8 selection. Three times was named to the All-Big 8 academic team. Played four years in the NFL with the New York Giants, including the Super Bowl XXI championship year, before his career was cut short by Hodgkin's Disease.

Tackle—Doug Skartvedt (1990-93)

A four-year starter who was All-Big 8 and an All-American as a senior. Also was named all-conference as a junior, despite playing most of the season with a broken hand and a twisted knee. Anchored an offensive line in 1993 that finished with the second-most prolific rushing attack in school-history.

Now, can you do better than this list? If so, I'd love to read your opinions on my ISU dream team offense the next two weeks. Please feel free to post your responses on our message boards. I look forward to reading them.

(Steve Deace can be heard on the radio in Iowa each weekday from 3-6 p.m. on 1460-KXNO, the flagship of the Cyclone Radio Network. His next column will be published on June 7th.)

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