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100 Things Cyclone Fans Need to Forget Before They Die: “Losing” to Oklahoma in 1944

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Big 12 refs have been hating us for a loooooooong time.

After a tie with Missouri and a win over Kansas State, ISC met up with powerhouse Oklahoma. The Cyclones’ hopes for an unbeaten season were dashed in a heartbreaking 12-7 defeat by the Sooners, partly the result of a questionable call.

“We were trailing 12-7 when Dick Howard caught a short pass from Joe Noble on a fourth-down play. An Oklahoma guy hit Howard right at the goal line and the sideline flag,” said Cole. “Referee Jack North, who was about on the 15-yard line, called him out of bounds on about the 2-inch line. The game films later showed he crossed the goal and, when hit, pushed the flag back upfield. What’s so tragic about it is that we would have won the game right there with a 13-12 score.”

The loss was tough on Cyclone coach Mike Michalske. Cole recollected, “After all the dust had settled and we had sat in our locker room and changed clothes, it was really quiet because everyone was so down. When we left, Michalske was standing by the flag on the goal line at the southwest corner of Clyde Williams Field. He just stood there, shaking his head. It really took a lot out of him.”

In a letter written to Joe Noble in January of 1945, the loss still burdened Michalske. “I have played the Oklahoma game at least once or twice since you left, Joe, and I imagine you have too, so I don’t want to open up an old wound. I still think we might have won the game, and most of the time I think we did win it. That decision could have been called either way and we all know it. After looking at the picture 30 or 40 times, I am sure that Howard made it over.”

The Cyclones rebounded to beat Nebraska, 19-6, in Lincoln the following weekend. Iowa State capped the 6-1-1 season with a 9-0 shutout of previously unbeaten Drake. The 1944 team outscored its opponents, 203-39, and shut out five opponents.

Jack Fathauer was named to the second team of Bill Stern’s Look Magazine All-America squad. Six other Cyclones were honored as all-Big Six selections.

- 2006 Iowa State Cyclone Football Media Guide


Check the newspaper clipping gallery below for an exclusive look at the 1944 season.