Give 'em 5!

It was 24-7 with 49 seconds remaining in the first half. While Iowa was content to run out the clock and sit on its big lead, Iowa State Coach Dan McCarney was storming the sidelines, fuming, and exhorting his team to not give up. After a stirring halftime, the Cyclones responded and unleashed 30 minutes of Hell on Iowa City.

The streak is alive at five.

Defying the odds, not to mention the sellout crowd of 70,397 screaming Hawkeye fans at Kinnick Stadium, the soon-to-be-ranked Iowa State Cyclones overcame a 17-point halftime deficit to defeat Iowa, 36-31, in the 50th in-state clash on Saturday night.

After nearly a generation of futility against its bitter rival to the east, the Cyclones have now won five straight in the series.

With the victory Iowa State improved its record to 3-1 heading into next week's game against Troy State at Jack Trice Stadium. The Hawkeyes fell to 2-1 and next host Utah State.

"We pulled together as a family and came back for the greatest victory I have ever experienced," said senior center Zach Butler, an Iowa City native. "There was no greater feeling for me than walking out on the field here where my dad played as a captain. Afterwards, it was a special feeling giving him a bear hug. He was the first guy I hugged. After that, I just kind of lost it."

Junior defensive lineman Jordan Carstens, another Iowa native on the Cyclone roster, dropped to his knees on the sidelines shortly after the Kinnick Stadium clock read all zeros.

"It hadn't set in yet," Carstens said. "I just needed to gather my thoughts to realize what had just happened."

After blowing a 24-7 halftime lead, Hawkeye fans were left feeling the same way.

"We got taken behind the woodshed in that first half," Iowa State Coach Dan McCarney said. "It was sickening to watch. I was really upset. We looked like a scout team. That's a credit to Iowa."

Iowa's offensive line dominated the Cyclone defensive front in the first half. The Hawkeyes amassed 291 total yards, including a 193 yards rushing. Iowa nearly doubled Iowa State in first downs while running back Fred Russell finished with 133 yards on the ground.

The score could've been worse. Iowa had one last first half possession that started at its own 30-yard line with 49 seconds remaining. However, instead of using the relatively good field position and two remaining timeouts to put the Cyclones in a deeper hole, Iowa mystifyingly elected to run out the clock content with its lead.

From that point on, Iowa State became the aggressor.

"We coached them up a little bit at halftime," Iowa State offensive line coach Marty Fine said with a bit of a smirk on his face.

McCarney, an Iowa City native and University of Iowa alum, sent a message to the team during the intermission.

"It was tense," Carstens said. "Coach Mac was really fired up. I couldn't look those guys in the eye with the way the defense was playing in the first half."

Mac wasn't alone. Several members of the team had some poignant things to say as well.

"A lot of the guys from Iowa were really emotional," quarterback Seneca Wallace said.

That included wide receiver Jack Whitver, a native of Grinnell.

"I told the defense at halftime that if they could just get two stops we'd be fine because I knew the offense could move the ball," said Whitver, who finished with eight receptions for 132 yards.

Whitver and fellow Iowan Lane Danielsen -- who added five catches for 131 yards – are both former walk-ons who have gone to become two of Iowa State's top players.

"Coach Mac stresses the in-state recruiting and there's a lot of good players in Iowa," Whitver said.

Make no mistake, however, the night belonged to Wallace. From the beginning, the gameplan centered around his daunting athleticism and versatility. He completed 23-of-37 pass attempts for 361 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 30 yards and another score.

"Thank God he's with Iowa State because we couldn't have come back without him," McCarney said.

Wallace's value to the team was best epitomized during a crucial fourth quarter possession that began from near Iowa State's end zone. Three times on the drive, including one dazzling across-the-body pass for 29 yards to Whitver, Wallace converted on third down-and nine. The Cyclones possessed the ball for over six minutes on the drive, which finished with a pivotal 36-yard field goal by Adam Benike that gave Iowa State a nine-point lead.

"What can you say," Whitver said. "That's the reason he's up for the Heisman Trophy."

Also spearheading the Cyclone rally was a tenacious defensive line, which was run over, around, and through in the first half. Two recoveries of fumbles by Iowa quarterback Brad Banks deep in Hawkeye territory stunned the Kinnick faithful. The first was an unforced error and the result of the ball just slipping out of Banks' hand as he threw.

On the second miscue, defensive tackle Tim TeBrink was the culprit. He stripped Banks of the ball and then fell on his own forced fumble.

"TeBrink made a man's play out there," McCarney said.

Mere moments later, linebacker Jeremy Loyd tackled Iowa running back and Ames native Aaron Greving in the end zone for a safety.

"After those two fumbles and the safety we knew we were going to win this football game," Butler said.

So did the citizens of the Hawkeye Nation in attendance. After Benike's second fourth quarter field goal gave the Cyclones a 36-24 lead with 4:08 remaining, the mass black-and-gold exodus to the exits began.

"Without a doubt it's a Cyclone state," said a proud Bruce Van De Velde.

Indeed, it is. At least for another 12 months.

 

 


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