Football season is rapidly approaching. The WRNL staff is getting excited. As we head towards the beginning of the 7th season with Matt Campbell as the head coach at Iowa State, we wanted to look back and rank our top 10 wins from the first 6 seasons. To do this, the staff was polled to give their personal 1-10 rankings. Win #1 was worth 10 points, #2 worth 9 points, and on down. The games that earned the most “points” are what we will look back on throughout this series. Next up is the 2019 home game against Texas.
SETTING THE STAGE
This was the year of missed opportunities for Iowa State, as we seemed to be cursed in close games and against good teams. Texas had been a bit of a disappointment as well but did come in with the #19 ranking (imagine that). Iowa State turned to their secret weapon, the all black uniforms, in hopes of getting one over on the hated Longhorns. What followed was a celebration, turned nightmare, and ultimately a joyous ending.
Iowa State actually got off to a great start in this game, executing their first offensive possession perfectly. Brock Purdy finished it off with a 2 yard pass to a wide open Charlie Kolar. A coverage sack ended Texas’ first possession and it felt like the route was on. Things slowed down from there with Iowa State just not quite able to put more points on the board.
The defense was terrific, and after stopping Texas on 4th down inside the red zone, Purdy led us down the field for a short FG to make it 10-0 right before the half. Inexplicably, Sam Ehlinger drove Texas down the field in a minute to make it 10-7 at halftime and all the momentum felt gone. It all came back on the very first play of the 2nd half, with Purdy evading heavy pressure to hit Deshaunte Jones all alone behind the defense. 75 yards later is was 17-7 Cyclones.
The Horns found their groove in the 4th quarter, scoring 2 TDs to take a 21-20 lead with 5 minutes left. The same story we had seen all season was rearing its head again. But the defense got one final stop to give the Cyclones a chance for a signature moment. Thankfully this time, Iowa State would come through. LaMichael Pettway and Charlie Kolar drew pass interference on back to back plays to put Iowa State in field goal range with 2:12 to go and Texas out of timeouts. With Braden Narveson (there’s a name for you all) on to try a 42 yarder, Steven Wirtel made an unbelievably clutch play and faked out the defense to draw an offsides. He actually confirmed with us on the Litecast 2 years ago that he noticed Texas trying to jump the snap earlier in the game, and the hard count was totally planned. Iowa State bled the rest of the clock from there, and on the last play of the game, Connor Assalley came on and nailed the kick to send the Cyclones home a winner. As said on the FS1 broadcast, he had ice in his veins. Iowa State finally closed out a tight game against a good opponent.
- QB Brock Purdy (30/48, 354 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)
- WR Deshaunte Jones (7 receptions, 144 yards, 1 TD)
- K Connor Assalley (2/2 FGs, 2/2 extra points, 1 game winning FG)
- Iowa State drives 59 yards on their opening possession, capped off with a wide open Charlie Kolar TD
- Brock Purdy hits Deshaunte Jones wide open for a 75 yard TD on the first play of the 2nd half
- The Texas penalties on the final drive: WR LaMichael Pettway and TE Charlie Kolar drawing PI penalties, LS Steven Wirtel fakes out Texas and draws an offsides with 2 minutes left, allowing Iowa State to kill the rest of the clock
- Connor Assalley makes the 36 yard FG to win the game as time expired
HEAR FROM OUR STAFF
I feel like this game was a big momentum game and turning point for Matt Campbell and Co. As discussed before since Campbell had been hired Iowa State had really struggled with 2 things, closing out games, especially vs ranked teams, and overall special teams. In this game they beat a top 25 team in Texas, and won the game on a game-winning field goal from no other than Connor Assalley. This showed Iowa State and its fans were here to compete in the Big 12 and weren’t messing around. We’re not just going to keep these games close with top 25 teams, we’re going to find ways to win them. Little did we know many more were to come over the next few years (Horns down forever). -Tom Manning Burner