The energy on campus is palpable, even the freshmen girls are sporting their cardinal and gold shirts to match their oversized handbags, and undersized attire. People have an extra skip in their step, an extra giddy-up, or as Coach Mac would say, "They've all got the juice."
There's something special about opening day of the Cyclone football season. It's Christmas morning for all of us big kids. What presents are going to be lying underneath the Jack Trice tree?
Who can forget opening days of years past?
Back in 2001, we were clueless as to who this JUCO quarterback with the native-sounding name was?
Two series in, the Cyclone kid in us discovered our Big Wheel.
Seneca juked right, left, up and over the UNI secondary displaying a case of athleticism that would make Bo Jackson jealous, as the good guys trounced the Panthers 41-0. It was evident right away we were in for a treat for the next two years. A reward much greater than that Star Wars Lego set.
Think about all of the Cyclone
greats that made an impact on opening day. The mythical Troy Davis ran for over
275 yards under the lights in Mac's first game in 1995 to pummel
How about the first time we saw Tim Dobbins in action in 2004? All Big Daddy Dobbins did was help Iowa State hold UNI to under 100 yards of total offense and a measly seven first downs in a 23-0 shut-out. That's a better gift than the AC/DC drum set I received in 1989.
Not to mention Ennis, Darren, or J.J.
Just what will be unwrapped tonight?
Only Santa knows. Five years from now we could be warmly remembering the night under the lights when Juice Johnson exploded for 3 TDs, or the acrobatic grab over two Rocket defenders made by Marquise Hamilton.
Or perhaps it will be Rashawn Parker blowing up a tackle on his way to a blindside smash, busting the ball free as the Jack rises to its feet.
Imagine DeAndre Jackson busting free as the keys rattle for ISU's first kickoff return in 12 years. Could it be?
Only hours separate us from lifelong memories.
Sure there is some nervous apprehension about the game. That is perfectly normal. We all want to see the Huffy bike under the tree instead of the pair of Hawkeye socks from crazy Aunt Sue.
The fact remains, it's football season. For the next four months, we won't have to worry about wishing and waiting. Christmas day is here. And instead of Santa coming down the chimney, Coach Mac is leading his men out of the freshly constructed artificial tunnel, filled with smoke, sirens, and Thunderstruck.
Just remember the milk and cookies…..in this case, brats and beer will suffice.
The wait is over.