Football Insider: ISU Storms the Buffs

Luke Vander Sanden breaks down Iowa States huge victory over Colorado

Give us your overall thoughts on the huge win over Colorado.


This past Saturday was definitely an interesting one to say the least.  The day started off with thousands of Cyclone fans tailgating and having a great time.  As hours of tailgating passed, so did the storm front moving in.  Time passed and reports of tornadoes were spotted and headed towards Ames.  The sirens in Ames sounded a few times and then a voice came over the stadium PA that said, "Take cover immediately!"  There were numerous actions taken.  Some fans from Iowa State and Colorado went into the Jacobsen Athletic Building, some went into the Steve and Debbie Bergstrom Indoor Facility, and some went inside Hilton Coliseum.  Many fans were brave enough to keep their tailgates rolling and wait out the severity of the storm.  I know it juiced me up because it was sort of the "Cyclone before the Cyclones" as I liked to call it.  After a 40 minute delay to the kickoff, the game was on, the clouds passed over, and it was time for a great Cyclone Football atmosphere. 


I was thoroughly impressed with a team win.  The defense came up huge in the game versus Colorado.  The offense looked as if it struggled at times, but there were facing one of the top defenses in the nation.  The atmosphere was like the Iowa State/Iowa series in the tailgates and in the game.  I don't see why it can't be that way all the time.  I think it definitely gives the Cyclones some big time home-field advantage, the way it should be!


Did you ever have a situation while you were playing where the game was delayed like on Saturday and how do the players stay focused on the task at hand during such a distracting time like that?


I have never been in a situation as a player like the Cyclones were on Saturday.  I know that Coach Mac, along with all the other coaches, handled it very well.  They addressed the situation to the players.  If I was a player, I would have been so juiced to play after hearing there were tornadoes around Ames.  I understand safety is the top priority, but with all the momentum and confidence the Cyclones built up over the past few Saturdays, I am sure everyone in the locker room was ready to get the game underway.  There is nothing like anticipation going into a game like the one the Cyclones went into this past Saturday evening.


Many fans mentioned last week that it seemed like almost every time in past years when Iowa State would have a huge game and fans would pack Jack Trice, we would lose the game and many of those fans wouldn't come back for a while.  How much does a packed stadium mean to the players and how important do you think this win was in terms of keeping that fan base coming back for more?


Like I mentioned earlier, a great atmosphere always gets the players emotions up.  There is nothing like beating a good football squad in front of a near sold-out Jack Trice Stadium.  I think the win against Colorado was huge in the sense that the fans filled the stands, and the Cyclones put on an awesome show for them.  The magnitude of this game was huge.  Colorado has been really tough this year.  Prior to the game against the Cyclones, the Buffs had only lost to a national championship caliber team in Texas, and a top 10 team in Miami (FL).  I think Saturday's game was a huge step in getting Jack Trice Stadium to be filled.  I knew that the Cyclones would play well Saturday.  The game was going to come down to who made plays when they needed to be made.  As a result, the Cyclones made big time plays when the opportunities presented themselves.  I really hope that Cyclone fans realize the importance of supporting the Cyclones.  Is there any team perfect from week to week and winning all their games?  No.  On any given week, any team in Division I can beat anyone.  I look for Cyclone fans to continue filling the whole stadium next year.  Look at the Hawkeyes.  They have no trouble filling Kinnick Stadium, rain or shine, win or lose.


The wind was a huge factor in this game.  Sometimes as a fan you are a little bit protected by the stadium but explain how much different the wind is on the field and how much that changes an offensive and defensive game plan.


As I watched the game from the end zone, you could see how big of a factor the wind was during the game.  Iowa State capitalized early in the first quarter by putting points on the board on a pair of drives.  Whenever you have wind like we did Saturday, it is important to use it to your advantage when the wind is at your back.  Common sense?  Absolutely!  I noticed as the game moved on, neither team could establish a running game due to two outstanding defenses on the field in Colorado and Iowa State.  I thought Bret Meyer did an outstanding job with his ball control with the wind and against the wind, as did Joel Klatt for Colorado.  Bret came out more consistent on Saturday.


Obviously the wind alters a coach's game plan tremendously.  Rain, wind, or snow can have a huge impact on teams' game plans going into games.  That is why it is so important to not be a one-dimensional team.  The Cyclones and Buffs are two outstanding balanced teams.  Stevie Hicks did not find many holes for the Cyclones, nor did Lawrence Vickers of Colorado.  It was interesting with no run game presence for either team Saturday.  That was when both teams had to fight the wind in an aerial show.  Like I mentioned previously, Bret Meyer showed more consistency.  It is important to credit the offensive line for giving him time to throw the ball and make his reads, as well as credit the receivers and tight ends for making big time catches.


Brent Curvey seemed to be in Joel Klatt's face all game long and he absolutely leveled Klatt a number of times just after Klatt released the ball.  Talk about Curvey's improvement as a player and what impresses you the most about him?


Curvey is a huge factor in ball games for the Cyclones.  How many teams do you hear the defensive tackles mentioned for outstanding, big time plays?  Not many!  Nick Leaders and Brent Curvey continue to provide unbelievable performances at defensive tackles for the Cyclones.  Brent Curvey is definitely a smart player.  By the way, how many defensive tackles record three touchdowns in their career, not to mention long touchdown runs?  It is incredible to see the athlete in Curvey emerge week to week.  I remember while playing at Iowa State when Curvey first came in.  I knew he was going to be a great player for the Cyclones.  It was just a matter of time.  He came in out of shape, as does most players, including myself.  Matt McGettigan and Chris Ruf, the strength and conditioning coaches, do a great job in preparing players to hit the game field running.  He is constantly preaching to the players that they have to transform the things they do in the weight room to the practice field and game field.  Getty definitely has his players ready mentally and physically.  They are two great coaches to have on your side.


So far the Cyclones have repeated last year's turnaround to a tee.  What do our players and coaches need to do differently this year to avoid the disappointing lost to end the season?


I think players and coaches just need to continue doing what they are doing.  What is so special that they are doing?  They are playing/coaching consistent football games.  I promise you that Coach Mac and his staff are one of the most prepared staffs in all of college football.  They put in countless time getting game plans run, breaking down film, discovering tendencies, and watching film.  The key thing going into the Kansas game is playing with a chip on their shoulder from last year's end to the season.  I talked last week about the Cyclones controlling their destiny.  They just need to go out and play and not worry about what has to happen for them to repeat last year's title-share.  As a player/coach, you don't think about those things the last game of the season.  You think about the game at hand and doing what it takes, doing what you prepared yourselves for, and doing what it takes to win.  The Cyclones are facing a powerful Jayhawk defense on Saturday.  The offensive line will need to step it up and carry the load for the offense, establish the running game, and protect Bret Meyer.  The defense will need to force turnovers, stuff the run, and strive to keep points off the board. Kansas is playing for a bowl bid, while the Cyclones are playing for a bigger and better bowl; possibly a Big XII North Championship.  The juice will be flowing, and what a great feeling to know what is on the table.  Good luck to Coach Mac and his team!


Until the Week of Kansas,


Luke Vander Sanden

Former Cyclone Center

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