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Classic Games in Cyclone Football History: 1951 at Marquette

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5,000 fans showed up to watch Iowa State College get 5 total yards in a downpour.

Iowa State, under direction of Abe Stuber, marched their Big 7 squad up to Milwaukee for their third game of the season. Little did the 1-1 Cyclones know, that they would be met by a driving rain that lasted the entire game with a wind that blew at a steady 15 miles per hour.

Cyclone Uniforms

The opening kickoff by Iowa State goes just over 20 yards in the torrential downpour. The Cyclones have 8 defenders on the defensive line. The Golden Avalanche would use their opening drive to have lots of rushes up the middle.

On the following play, the pocket would collapse almost immediately on quarterback Don Leahy, and Bob Rohwedder (#80) would gather the bobbled ball and gallop 42 yards for six.

The kick attempt would be no good.

Iowa State’s defense stood strong blocking the Marquette punt.

Iowa State couldn’t capitalize on the blocked punt, and George Hess would let fly one of his school record 18 punts (601 total yards).

Marquette would start on their own about their own 15. They would have a run of about 20 yards up the left side. Unfortunately for Marquette, nothing came of this drive and the Cyclones would rush the kicker again and they would set up shop in the red zone.

Iowa State threatening vs. Marquette (1951)

I’m not exactly sure what transpired, but somehow Marquette got the ball back. The get a punt off this time and it goes over 40 yards. It’s very likely they had the 15+ MPH wind at their back for the boot.

Dick Mann continued to attempt to get the ground game going, to no avail, so the Cyclones get to use their offensive weapon (the punt) yet again. The second punt attempt (due to a penalty) doesn’t go as well as the first, and the ball drops dead at midfield.

On the exclusive pass pattern by the Golden Avalanche, one of their twelve on the day, gets batted down at the line. That sets up a punt which goes down in the end zone for a touchback.

ISC lost about nine on their opening drive, which would set up another Hess punt that doesn’t go far at all. Marquette will take over on about our 32.

Helmet style used in the draw against Marquette
Cyclone Jerseys

Two minimal gain rushes and a fumbled snap on 3rd down give ISC the ball back to start quarter number 2.

On our next series, we have a pitch that makes us lose about 8 yards. Other than that, we had another punt by Hess which was returned for a sizable gain in the sloppy conditions.

Bill Butz the fullback, who was the oldest on the team at 26, took a Leahy pitch and made a small gain to the Cyclone 40. Leahy on the next play did a pump fake and made a gain of about two.

ISU would get the ball back deep in our own territory, but Hess again would punt, this time for over 45 yards.

Marquette has finally found that running down the middle, and pitches to the left are effective against Iowa State. However, nothing would prevail and ISC would get the ball back.

Dan Rice would scoot for a negative run. On the 2nd down play, quarterback Mann and tailback ran into each other causing a fumble that would be recovered by the defense.

Leahy wouldn’t have much luck on this drive, as he would be sacked for -30ish yards by the Big 7 strengthened defense. Norm Rohter, tailback, would have one of the most exciting plays of the day. After receiving a pitch, he threw a pass that just missed the fingertips of the receiver.

Marquette’s punt is a touchback, and Stuber’s Sons go back out for their next possession, only to have George Hess swing his leg.

Marquette has a run that goes to the ISC 20, but the ball pops out, and the Cyclones take over. Only to punt, again. This time to the Marquette 40. Marquette threatens, only for the first half to end.


Cyclones start with the ball, and... Punt to our 45. WAIT! Hess rekicks it and it gets returned to the Marquette 45.

A promising Golden Avalanche run gets stopped by the Marquette monsoon drenched turf, which leads to a punt on 3rd Down(?).. The punt is blocked! Wait, it was blocked but they get to try the punt again? Watch below.

Cyclones take over do the ol’ razzle-dazzle, run, run, run, punt.

Great punt by Hess and great punt coverage as the Golden Avalanche take over inside their own 5. They make it to about their 10, before having a 30ish yard punt on the Cyclones take over.

The rain is visibly coming down now, as seen on the below punt.

Marquette has a punt that makes ISU start on their own 5.

ISC punts, but Marquette muffs it, and as cyclones.com puts it, “Iowa State uses the punt as an offensive weapon in search of a turnover.”

Alright, interesting play here, a direct snap to the back for a decent gain.

A penalty ruins the drive and Hess punts to the Marquette 27.

The Golden Avalanche has nothing going, and they throw an interception which is returned to their 20. The following excerpt are from newspapers in the Wisconsin area on October 8, 1951.

The defensive platoon of the Cyclones from the Big Seven Conference blocked three Marquette punts, intercepted passes to scop scoring drives twice and recovered four Marquette fumbles.

Nothing happens during the drive, just another punt. Marquette also punts. ISC counters the Marquette punt with a punt. Another punt from Marquette happens, because that’s what happens when the entire game is minimal yards and a pile of mud offensively. Another punt, watch along with me on this one to truly get an idea of how sloppy the field is.

Omitted from this film is Don Leahy’s 70 yard pass to future 11th overall pick in the NFL Draft, freshman Ron Drzewiecki.

“He Swam All The Way”
Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Marquette University Libraries.

Marquette held the Cyclones to 5 rushing yards, 1 first down and the Cyclones attempted zero passes.