Welcome to a new series on WRNL, where we will be looking at the greatest single game performances against each week’s opponent. This week: UNI. Iowa State has not historically beat this FCS squad by as much as it should have, or even beaten the Panthers every time (22-5-3 all time record). The Panthers are a highly-respected FCS school, but Iowa State does not schedule UNI to accomplish anything more than another tally in the win column. In terms of single game performances, Iowa State has not really had many outstanding performers, whether its due to pure, mediocre, early-season football or Iowa State playing well enough to get the backups some reps. There is one performance that does come to mind, however, and although Grant Mahoney’s 5 yard rush to get a first down back in 2010 is something we will never forget, we go to ole’ reliable, Troy Davis.
You could easily make the case of Troy Davis being the greatest player to ever put on the cardinal and gold. He is one of the most decorated players in school history, being a Heisman
Finalist People’s Champion and all. With that being said, let’s take a look into his historic day at Cyclone Stadium.
It is the year of our lord, nineteen hundred and ninety six, September 21st to be exact. The Cyclones are coming off of two straight losses to start the season. Coach Dan McCarney enters his second season as head coach, while Heisman finalist running back, Troy Davis, enters his junior season. After he ran for over 2,000 yards in the previous season, the weight of the offense -and the entire team, frankly- was on his shoulders.
The week leading up to the game, McCarney told Davis, “Be ready to run,” and boy, was he ever. He set the single-game school record with 53(!) carries, topping previous record holder, Dwayne Crutchfield, who carried the ball just a mere 47 times . Davis also finished with 241 yards and 5 touchdowns. The 5 touchdowns is also a “school record”, even though WRNL’s very own Jared Larson, claims it is 7.
Even though he averaged 4.5 yards a carry, that is not even the greatest tidbit of this performance. On Iowa State’s final drive, TD carried the ball 15 times for 45 yards. The only reason he stopped carrying the ball on that possession? He hit paydirt from 1 yard out to seal the ‘Clones 42-23 victory over Northern Iowa.
Iowa State won their next game against Missouri to snag the beloved Telephone Trophy, but would finish the season on 7 straight, tough losses in a, newly-formed, Big 12 Conference schedule. Troy Davis went on to finish runner-up in the Heisman Trophy race.