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  1. #1
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    Post ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    DesMoinesRegister.com

    Ames, Ia. - Earle Bruce's spy story ends with a cardinal-and-gold twist.

    It begins 30 years ago, when a Nebraska television station leaked information from an Iowa State football practice.

    "They took our secret play," said Bruce, who coached the Cyclones from 1973 through '78, "and they showed it on the 10 o'clock news.

    "Our players went berserk."

    They responded on Oct. 15, 1977, by beating the Cornhuskers 24-21. It was the last time Iowa State escaped Lincoln, Neb., with a victory.

    "It makes you proud of your team. It makes you proud of your coaches," former defensive tackle Tom Randall said. "From that aspect, it's a nice thing for people to remember."

    Randall and his ex-teammates, however, would gladly vacate their place in history if the current Cyclones can win Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

    "We hope it's going to come again soon," Randall said. "It's not like we're going, 'Hey, we don't want anybody to touch our record,' like the (1972) Miami Dolphins.

    "That wouldn't be the case at all in our situation. We'd be cheering on the guys, because we know how much it meant to us."

    Iowa State (1-3) is a 22-point underdog for this weekend's visit to No. 25 Nebraska (3-1).

    The Cornhuskers have won 14 consecutive home meetings in this series, but in '77 they were seeking revenge.

    Nebraska had lost 37-28 the previous season in Ames.

    "A lot of what we heard from people was, 'Oh, (Iowa State) caught them off guard. It was a bigger game for us than it was for (Nebraska) ... every excuse in the world," Randall recalled. "We took that personal."

    The media took the rematch seriously.

    When a camera crew asked to film a workout, Bruce agreed.

    "I let them shoot before practice and through calisthenics," said Bruce, who lives in Columbus, Ohio. "I asked them to leave, and they went over and got into some kind of tower, so they could shoot down on the field."

    Bruce was furious when the footage was shown on the nightly news.

    "I remember that he was quite upset about that," said Jack Seabrooke, who played fullback. "He had just beaten Nebraska. ... So he knew the Cornhuskers weren't going to hold back, especially in Lincoln."

    Viewers may have caught a glimpse of Iowa State's game plan, but the Cornhuskers didn't have an answer for Dexter Green and Cal Cummins.

    Nebraska led 7-0 and 14-7, but the Cyclones built a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter.

    Green rushed for 139 yards on 33 carries and scored a touchdown. Cummins contributed 115 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.

    The defense held Nebraska scoreless over the final 18 minutes.

    "Dexter Green was a guy who played well against good opposition, especially Nebraska," Bruce said.

    The Cornhuskers' iconic coach, Tom Osborne, was told afterward of the TV intrusion.

    "He didn't know what to think of it, to tell you the truth," Bruce said with a chuckle.

    In following seasons, Nebraska reeled off a series of routs.

    The Cyclones' average margin of defeat in Lincoln since '77 is 36.5 points. The last trip ended with a 27-20 loss in double overtime.

    "After Earle Bruce left, the program went in the tank for a long time," said Randall, who owns a real estate business in Ames.

    "Let's be honest, the 1980s and '90s were not a good time for Iowa State football. Until the Dan McCarney era, we didn't have a realistic chance of playing with them."

    Gene Chizik replaced McCarney in November. He'll attempt to become the first Cyclone coach since J.A. Myers in 1957 to win his initial game against Nebraska.

    "He's got his hands full rebuilding the football team, and getting it into a winning position," Bruce said. "I just think it takes a lot of hard work."

    Bruce met Chizik before a 15-13 win over Iowa.

    "Obviously, the kids really played for him," Bruce said. "Iowa State for a long time has looked for ways to lose, rather than ways to win. I was really impressed with the fact they were looking for a way to beat Iowa.

    "And they did it."



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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    [QUOTE]"A lot of what we heard from people was, 'Oh, (Iowa State) caught them off guard. It was a bigger game for us than it was for (Nebraska) ... every excuse in the world," Randall recalled. "We took that personal."
    /QUOTE]

    Everyone we beat uses the same excuse. How is it possible that every team we play is our superbowl?



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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    Quote Originally Posted by ISUFan22 View Post
    Randall: "Let's be honest, the 1980s and '90s were not a good time for Iowa State football. Until the Dan McCarney era, we didn't have a realistic chance of playing with them [NU]."
    Hmmm...the average ISU-NU score under the predecessor to DM was 13-39, with one victory in 7 seasons. The average NU score under DM was 17-43, with two victories in 12 seasons . Seems that the average "margin of loss" under both coaches was about 26 points. Perhaps Tom Randall uses a different definition of "realistic" than I do...


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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    Every game being our Superbowl is actually a good thing. Everyone wants to win the Superbowl. If we play that way and win oh well.



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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    Hmmm...the average ISU-NU score under the predecessor to DM was 13-39, with one victory in 7 seasons. The average NU score under DM was 17-43, with two victories in 12 seasons . Seems that the average "margin of loss" under both coaches was about 26 points. Perhaps Tom Randall uses a different definition of "realistic" than I do...
    There's also...

    Duncan: 0-4, average score 37-5 (ISU scored 3, 0, 7, 10)
    Criner: 0-4, average score 50-11 (2 shutouts by 40+)



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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    Hmmm...the average ISU-NU score under the predecessor to DM was 13-39, with one victory in 7 seasons. The average NU score under DM was 17-43, with two victories in 12 seasons . Seems that the average "margin of loss" under both coaches was about 26 points. Perhaps Tom Randall uses a different definition of "realistic" than I do...
    No Randall is right. People had no realistic expectation whatsoever of beating NU during the Walden era. When Mac got into the 2000s, we were a lot better and NU had slipped. The statistics don't tell the underlying feeling people had. The fact is we had realistic expectations of winning against NU during the 2nd half of Macs tenure, whereas we never thought we were going to beat NU during Walden's years.


    Last edited by pulse; 09-27-2007 at 10:49 AM.

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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    No Randall is right. People had no realistic expectation whatsoever of beating NU during the Walden era.
    Perhaps you and Tom Randall didn't think so, but that doesn't make it the case for everybody.

    In 1989, ISU was playing decent FB and coming off a heartbreaking 3-pt loss to OU in Ames going into Lincoln (that turned out to be Walden's only winning season).

    In 1990, ISU was 3-3-1 coming off a win in Norman, and ISU had NU coming up in Ames.

    I recall buzz after both those OU games about those being the years that ISU was going to finally take the Huskers. Especially in 1990 after the OU win in Norman. Folks were pumped for NU. Over 54,000 showed up at JTS for the NU game (I think it was the largest home crowd during Walden's tenure), but ISU didn't win.

    Compare that 1990 crowd to the 42,000 that showed up 2 years later when ISU actually did beat NU. In 1992, yeah, nobody expected to beat NU. But in 1990, I expected that ISU could win, my roomates and officemates did, and so did a good number of other people.


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    Re: ISU football: Bruce ignored spy to win in Lincoln

    Quote Originally Posted by pulse View Post
    No Randall is right. People had no realistic expectation whatsoever of beating NU during the Walden era. When Mac got into the 2000s, we were a lot better and NU had slipped. The statistics don't tell the underlying feeling people had. The fact is we had realistic expectations of winning against NU during the 2nd half of Macs tenure, whereas we never thought we were going to beat NU during Walden's years.

    Ironic then that Walden actually beat a GOOD kNU team then isn't it???
    Then in honor of Dan telling us how good the kNU teams that he beat were.


    Jeffrey A Crawford

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