Welcome to hate week ladies and gents. We got the Hawkeyes. We don’t like them, they don’t like us. Both teams have had an interesting history against each other, with Iowa leading all time, 42-22 (16 of those wins for Iowa being before World War II). More importantly, we have College Gameday (we still want your sign ideas!). This is potentially the biggest Cy-Hawk game in the history of the series.
For all of the early failures in the CyHawk game, more than a few Cyclones have put up impressive individual performances against the Team Out East. Whether you want to take the route of Troy Davis rushing for 244 yards in 1996, Steele Jantz coming on the scene in 2011 throwing for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns, or even Bret Culbertson nailing 5 field goals to beat the Hawks in ‘07.
One performance, however, sticks out a little more in a game that Cyclone fans will never forget. This week, we turn to Seneca “Better than Mike Vick” Wallace.
The 2001 season was a very exciting season for the Cyclones. Seneca would lead Iowa State to its second straight bowl game appearance (though losing by a about a foot) and it looked like Dan McCarney had turned a new leaf for this football program.
Seneca Wallace enters his senior season, coming off of a an impressive first season at the helm as a junior, surpassing the 2000 yard mark while throwing 11 touchdowns, along with 475 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.
Now that Wallace has a season of experience under his belt, he realistically has a shot at the Heisman Trophy.
It’s the year of our lord two thousand and two, September the 14th. The Cyclones enter this week 2-1* (*Seneca was in), following back-to-back wins over Kansas (45-3) and Tennessee Tech (58-6). As shown in the first 3 games, this offense can flat out ball. But this is a test for the ‘Clones after being unable to get passed Florida State in the Eddie Robinson Classic down in KC. Iowa State now travels to Iowa City to take on a talented Hawkeye squad, led by fellow Heisman-hopeful Brad Banks.
The Cyclones got off to a rocky start and really did not have a great first half, going into the break down 24-7. Seneca was playing well, but not well enough. I want to give my parents, who decided to go to this game on my first birthday and not even bring me along with them (yes I am just a mere 17 years old for those people who would like to feel old), a special shoutout due to my dad to this day saying he called the second half performance this team would have. “We are a second half team,” my wise old man said that day, and boy was he right. Iowa State came storming back from down 17, led by Wallace and his scrambling. The guy was a playmaker, and he made a lot of plays this glorious day.
Iowa State opened up the half by driving all the way down the field on a very efficient drive, capped off by a Seneca Wallace kept-option run. Less than 2 minutes of gametime later, Brad Banks forgets how to quarterback and fumbles the football while trying to throw it, recovered by, defensive back, JaMaine Billups, igniting this ISU offense once again. Just a few plays later, Seneca hit junior receiver Jamaul Montgomery, on an 8 yard strike to bring the Cyclones within a field goal.
With just under 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Banks once again puts the ball on the ground, recovered by ISU defensive tackle Tim DeBrink. The very next play Wallace would connect with fellow Cyclone legend Lane Danielsen on a 19 yard gain to set up a 1st and goal from inside the one yard line. Fullback Joe Woodley punched the handoff into the endzone to put the Cyclones up 28-24, after trailing 24-7 just under 11 minutes ago. Safety. 30-24, ‘Clones. Seneca Wallace would continue to cut through the Iowa defense, escaping Iowa City with a win, 36-31.
Wallace would finish the game going 23-37 with 361 yards and a touchdown, along with 30 yards and a touchdown on the ground. This truly was just the start for Seneca. He tore through many defenses (not all, but many) and though falling out of the Heisman race, entertained Cyclone fans and gave them hope for the future. The team would finish 7-7, following a bowl-game loss
at to Boise State in he Humanitarian Bowl. Wallace went on to have a productive NFL career, while being a backup for several squads.
P.S. Can’t go an entire article about Seneca Wallace without mentioning The Run. Enjoy a legendary Pete Taylor call.