The football season of 2011 was one to remember with extreme highs, yet extreme lows. This season was special to me because it was my senior year, and I personally attended the Pinstripe Bowl.
Paul Rhoads was at the helm in 2011, and the season started off with a 3-0 record. One of those wins coming in the unforgettable triple OT win at home against TOE, one win against UNI (barely), and a squeaky victory against UCONN. The season would then be turned over with four straight losses. Sitting at 3-4, the season looked bleak again. But somehow, we would blow out Taco Tech, sneak by KU, and pull off that Friday Night Lights game against Okie State. I was proactive and damn near didn’t remember that historic night in Ames after the defeat of #2. Stereo bumpin’ to the Nano gameday playlist, and Busch Lattes down the gullet. That is one game we should not forget, but that’s not what this is about.
Two more losses after that amazing Friday night would follow. Now we were at 6-6, and received an invite to Yankee Stadium on December 30th, in which we would play a then-Big East team by the name of Rutgers.
The line was Rutgers by two. The crowd was just over 38,000 tickets sold with a stadium capacity of 54,251. New Brunswick, NJ, to Yankee Stadium was a two hour drive. Ames to Yankee stadium, however, was 17 hours driving, and 2 hrs. and 45 mins. via airplane. We landed a few cheap tickets and flew there.
I had been to NYC twice prior to my college days, but going there for a non-high school activity or family vacation was new to me. One of my fondest memories was getting off on the wrong subway stop in Queens at 11 pm. It was myself, my girlfriend, and her college roommate at the time. The cops were in Donut Land, (shit you not), and told us to get moving. Oh gee, thanks! Luckily, all ended up fine, but it was a chilling moment in my life. The game was December 30th, so we stayed for New Year’s Eve. If you ever have that opportunity, do it! We met some people from Ireland and drank waaaayyyy too much.
Clearly this article was taken a turn from what I am to be covering, and for good reason. The experience of the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl was great. The game, however, was not.
Yankee Stadium and December usually is not a good combination. To our surprise, the weather was perfect sweatshirt weather. Mid 50’s, not raining or snowing, and partly cloudy. We hit the Bronx Drafthouse and it was a Cyclone tailgate party. Prices were typical of what you would expect. Our group then went into the stadium and sat in the “student section”. We figured, ‘Heck! It’s Yankee Stadium. Let’s have a beer!’
A $9 twelve oz. Bud Light that is. Woof. But we did it. #YOLO (2011 O.G. hashtag).
The game started off decent, with us ahead 6-0 at the end of the 1st quarter. However, those damn Scarlet Knights would lead at halftime 17-6. They would push ahead to 20-6, before our only touchdown of the game by Woody. I remember a glimmer of hope when it was 20-13, but we just couldn’t do shit. Rutgers would then punch in another TD and win the game 27-13.
It was another typical Iowa State football game of juggling between quarterbacks. Both Barnett and Jantz had stand out games during the year, but once again, no consistency. The Cyclones could never get in a groove throughout the entire game. Even when we were ahead 6-0, you could just feel it. This bowl game capped off in my opinion, one of the greatest roller coaster seasons of recent memory. Had Iowa State been able to pull of this bowl game, we would have been 7-6.
From a season that had so much hope, adrenaline, accomplishment, and disappointment... we could not pull off our second bowl win under the Rhoads era.
6-7 on the 2011 season just had a bruise to it. 6-7 doesn’t seem like a season where a team could win a triple OT game against an in-state rival. 6-7 doesn’t seem like a team who could blow out Texas Tech. 6-7 does not seem like a team that would have a historical, goosebumpin’ upset game against #2 Oklahoma State at home. 6-7 seems like a team that would perform poorly in a bowl game, only to trump the swagger that could have been.
2011 was a memorable season. Unfortunately, an ugly bowl loss ruins the buzz. We need to move forward, trust the process, win in the dark, and leave this game behind.
Remember the gamethread? I don’t, but here it is!