Iowa State, fresh from a furious 36-31 victory over Iowa--its fifth straight in the series--was rewarded with a No. 21 ranking in the Associated Press poll and a No. 24 ranking in the coaches' poll today. It's the first regular-seaon ranking for the Cyclones since Oct. 26, 1981.
No one savored Iowa State's victory more than Zach Butler, the 292-pound senior center from Iowa City.
"Unbelievable!'' Butler said after Iowa State stormed back from a 24-7 halftime deficit to win. "I'm the happiest guy you'll ever meet. Five in a row (over Iowa)....and I couldn't be more proud to be associated with the Iowa State Cyclones and Coach Dan McCarney for giving me the opportunity to play here.
"It was probably the biggest victory I've ever had as a Cyclone. Iowa came out fired up and ready to go. They had something to prove because they hadn't won against us for four years. "We came in and regrouped. We said, ‘Hey, if we can do it against Florida State, we can do it against anybody in the nation. We got ‘em on their heels, they made a couple of mistakes and we capitalized on every one of their mistakes.'' Butler said, "I love playing against Iowa and I love the competition. There was no greater feeling than walking out as a captain in my hometown. I don't hate Iowa, I respect them so much. They have a great ballclub. "I'm not going to take anything away from them, but I'm 5-0 against them.'' At halftime, Butler said, "it was a collective deal'' that repaired Iowa State's wreckage. "Every was yelling, everybody was screaming—saying that ain't our football style,'' he commented. "That's not how we play Cyclone football.''
Butler said it was important for the Cyclones to put the ball into the end zone on on their first drive of the third quarter. "We made some great passes,'' he said. "We were able to do it last year on them, and we did it this year on them. We had problems running the ball. Norm Parker (Iowa's defensive coordinator) had a great defensive scheme, just like he did last year. But we were able to run the ball when we had to.''
The Cyclones totaled only 85 yards rushing to 222 for Iowa. Fifty were by Hiawatha Rutland, 30 by quarterback Seneca Wallace. But Wallace had some Heisman Trophy-type passing numbers. He completed 23 of 37 for 361 yards and one touchdown. "I'll tell you what, Seneca is a hell of a player. He's unbelievable.''
Butler, the son of Dave Butler—who was a teammate of McCarney at Iowa—feels both the Hawkeyes and Cyclones can be factors in their conference races.
"They have a great team,'' he said of Iowa. "Coach (Kirk) Ferentz has done a great job. I'll tell you what, they're going to be battling for the Big Ten title, and we all know that. "But don't count us out. We're going to be battling in the Big 12 North. We have a hell of a team. We can compete and play with anybody in the nation. We proved that already, going into Kinnick Stadium—one of the hardest places to play, coming back from a 24-7 deficit. "I'll tell you what, don't count us out, man. We're going 15 rounds every time we play.'' Wallace said Iowa State didn't panic when it fell behind in the first two half. "We'd been in that situation before,'' he explained. "After the Florida State game (a 38-31 Cyclone loss), we knew we were capable of coming back. Hitting a couple of passes and keeping Iowa on its heels got us started.'' Eight of Wallace's completions were to Jack Whitver for 132 yards. Five were to Lane Danielsen for 131 yards.
Iowa center Bruce Nelson said he didn't think his team let up in the last half, but added that the Hawkeyes "didn't execute and didn't carry out our assignments.''
He and his teammates made more sense afterward than some of the fans on the Internet message boards who were quickly ready to blame Ferentz's lack of emotion on the sideline and offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe's second-half play-calling in the second half for the defeat. Nelson, a senior from Emmetsburg said, however, that the Hawkeyes' fifth consecutive loss to Iowa State "no doubt hurts.''
Nelson said the Cyclones' defense made some good adjustments in the second half, and Iowa's offensive line wasn't able to duplicate the huge holes it opened in the first 30 minutes. "Good teams do that,'' he said. "Iowa State is a good team. We understood that this wasn't a one-half kind of game. We knew they were down a lot of points against Florida State and were able to come back.''
Nelson said the loss early in the second half of running back Fred Russell to a shoulder injury was big. Russell ran for 133 yards in 15 carries in the first half, but had only six yards in one carry the rest of the way.
"He's a great player,'' Nelson said. "Anytime you lose someone like him, it hurts.''
Here & There
Iowa State's No. 21 ranking n the AP poll marked the first time it has been ranked during the regular season since the Oct. 26, 1981 poll, when it was No. 11. The Cyclones were No. 23 in the final coaches' poll following its 9-3 season in 2000. The Cyclones were No. 25 in the final AP poll that year.....For the past several years, retired sportswriter Buck Turnbull was writing historical stories dealing with Iowa football teams for the Hawkeye game program. But his article was not used in Saturday's Iowa-Iowa State game program. He said he was told that the Hawkeye coaches want more information in the programs that deal with the present team instead of historical items. Turnbull had most of his stories for this year's programs written in advance, but now he's been told there's no guarantee any of them will be used. The article used on the page where Turnbull's story would have appeared Saturday was one about "Iowa's student ambassador committee,'' which Ferentz says "plays a key role in our recruiting efforts....'' Iowa officials told Turnbull he'll be paid for the stories that won't be used.
Vol. 2, No. 60
Sept. 15, 2002
[Ron Maly's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org ]