By Kirk Haaland, CycloneFanatic.com blogger
I’m not afraid to copy an interesting idea when I see one. So, as I reviewed cnnsi.com articles on college football and college basketball’s best players, teams, and games of the decade, I thought I would follow suit. That was partially spurred on because of an extreme lack of Iowa State in their pieces, for understandable reasons.
Yesterday, you saw my all-decade teams for women’s basketball, men’s basketball. Today, it’s football. For my player selections, I wanted to factor in how much of their career was spent in the time frame noted, but there are instances where that was somewhat ignored because of the impact some had in such a short amount of time. Also, I tried to keep the selections based off of positions played to create an actual team, but this is massaged a bit in the basketball sections. Without further delay here are my picks:
Football All-Decade Team
QB Seneca Wallace RB Ennis Haywood WR Todd Blythe WR Lane Danielsen WR RJ Sumrall TE Mike Banks OL Ben Bruns OL Lorenzo White OL Bob Montgomery OL Reggie Stephens OL Marcel Howard K Adam Benike
DL Nick Leaders DL Jordan Carstens DL Brent Curvey DL Jason Berryman LB Tim Dobbins – Biggest Hitter of the Decade LB Alvin Bowen LB Jesse Smith DB Ellis Hobbs DB Marc Timmons DB Nik Moser DB LaMarcus Hicks P Troy Blakenship
KR/PR JJ Moses
Note: It wouldn’t be too far fetched for the secondary to be entirely comprised from the 2004/2005 starters. JJ Moses only played in 2000 but he was dynamite. Adam Benike was just more accurate than Culbertson. It was hard to leave Reggie Hayward and James Reed off the list even though they only played in 2000.
Offensive MVP – Seneca Wallace Defensive MVP – Ellis Hobbs
Best Play – “The Run”, Seneca Wallace vs. Texas Tech, 2002 What else could it be? Truth be told, this was just another reason to bring up this amazing play.
Note: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Lane Danielsen followed up Wallace’s run for the ages in the following offensive possession when he took and end-around 79 yards to the house that is often forgotten. I should also mention that Wallace had an incredibly similar run the previous season at Nebraska in a 48-14 loss.
Biggest Win – ISU 9 – Nebraska 7, 2009
Against all odds ISU came out of Lincoln with their first win in 32 years. The main reason I tabbed this game as the biggest win of the decade is because without it, the Cyclones would not have gone bowling in 2009.
Most Underrated Win – ISU 30 – Colorado 16, 2005
The game affectionately known as the Tornado Game was highlighted by a debilitating wind out of the south and two defensive touchdowns from the Cyclones. Most notably was the interception returned by Brent Curvey late in the fourth quarter with Colorado threatening to score and tie the game at 23. The Cyclones put themselves in position to win the North the following week—that part didn’t go quite so well. Nevertheless it was a win that was desperately needed against a ranked opponent, a situation that usually leaves ISU teams sulking instead of celebrating.
Most Crushing Loss – ISU 21 – Kansas 24 OT, 2005
For the second straight season ISU lost its chance to win the Big 12 North in the last game of the season in overtime. It was the third conference road overtime loss of the season for the Clones. Kansas rallied from a 14-3 halftime deficit before winning on a FG in the second half of overtime after ISU failed to make their FG.
Best Team Offensive Performance – ISU 42 – Texas A&M 14, 2005
ISU rarely topples the 40 point plateau. It is even rarer on the road against a tradition rich program like the Aggies. Todd Blythe had eight catches for 214 yards and four touchdowns while Bret Meyer was 20-32 on completions for 371 yards with four touchdowns. Stevie Hicks also added 122 yards on the ground with two touchdowns.
Best Team Defensive Performance – ISU 9 – Nebraska 7, 2009
Eight turnovers. EIGHT! When the offense was hammered with injuries the defense played out of its mind forcing turnovers when they were most desperately needed to lead the way to the first victory in Lincoln since 1977.
Best Offensive Individual Performance – Seneca Wallace, 493 yards of total offense, Missouri, 2002
Wallace set a school record of 493 yards of total offense in the game while carrying the Cyclones to a 42-35 victory over the Tigers. Wallace was 31-47 through the air for 425 yards and a TD. He also notched 10 carries for 68 yards and another TD.
Best Defensive Individual Performance – Jason Berryman, 5 sacks, TCU, 2005 Houston Bowl
Berryman’s performance was so dominating that he won defensive player of the game honors even though Iowa State lost 27-24 to the 14th ranked TCU Horned Frogs. Berryman also notched 12 tackles to accompany his 5 sacks on the day.
Other Iowa State Athletic Department Achievements
• A Clean Sweep – The ISU men’s and women’s basketball teams swept the Big 12 regular season and tournament championships in 2000.
• Back-to-Back – In 2001 the Iowa State men repeated as regular season champs and the women did so as Big 12 tournament champs.
• Three’s a Streak – The Cyclone volleyball team has vaulted into the elite with three straight trips to the Sweet 16, with the trip in the middle being to the Elite Eight.
• Super Six – The Cyclone Gymnastics team qualified for the NCAA Super 6 for the first and only time in school history in 2006.
• Wrestling Return – The Cyclone wrestlers have one three-straight conference titles and also won the 2002 National Duals and 2006 Midlands Championships.
• Fallen Cyclones – Some prominent Cyclones that passed away all too soon in the past decade: Pete Taylor, Barry Stevens, Ennis Haywood, Dexter Green, and Stevie Hicks.
Cyclone Trivia of the Week
Last week’s question: The Iowa State men’s basketball team is 12-13 all time in the NCAA Tournament. Seven of those wins have come in two cities. Can you name them and ISU’s record in each city in NCAA Tournament play?
Answer: Minneapolis, MN (4-0 with wins over Miami (OH) and Michigan in 1986 and Central Connecticut State and Auburn in 2000) and Auburn Hills, MI (3-1 with wins over Illinois State and Cincinnati in 1997 and a win over UCLA and a loss to Michigan State in 2000).
This week: Some easy Insight Bowl trivia. Who were the offensive and defensive MVP’s of the Insight Bowl in 2000? What circumstances forced Jamaine Billups to be put in to return a punt for the first time in his career on the punt that he returned for a touchdown in that game?