Mission Accomplished – ISU 2009 Insight Bowl Champs

A bowl victory. That was the goal of the 2009 Iowa State football team from the moment that Paul Rhoads stepped foot on campus, in December of 2008. It wasn’t always pretty, but on New Year’s Eve, 2009, the Cyclones accomplished that mission. Iowa State defeated Minnesota 14-13 to win the Insight Bowl and after one year of the Paul Rhoads era in Ames, Iowa State finished 2009 with a winning record and a bowl championship.

“We had our first team meeting on Jan. 12 of this year. In that meeting, I did tell them that the expectations of this football team were to win a bowl game,” Rhoads told a group of reporters after the game. “As the year went along, that became more public. I never intended it to but it did. I have never been one to shy away from the truth and how things happen to be able to fulfill that expectation with this bowl win, just continues to give credibility to this staff and the direction that we are taking the program.”

The positives that will follow this victory are limitless. It helps recruiting. It builds momentum for the long winter workouts and spring ball. It helps ticket sales. Etc.

After the game, during the trophy presentations, Iowa State Rhoads made some sort of a comment about how his team wasn’t very good, but heart and work ethic seal the deal. KXNO’s Matt Perrault asked Rhoads to elaborate afterwards.

“We’re not very good,” Rhoads joked. “We’re about last in the league in total defensive numbers and stuff like that but by God we play. The number one thing that I asked Wally and that defense to do this year is not give up as many points as they’d been giving up.”

And just like it was in Lincoln, the defense won the Insight Bowl for Iowa State tonight. Minnesota totaled 435 yards against the Cyclones, but two forced turnovers, specifically a Marqueis Gray fumble in the fourth quarter sealed the deal for Iowa State.

“There are a couple of things that I read in the hotel before coming here that scared me,” Rhoads said. “I got to looking at the scoreboard and this, that and that stat. One of the stats was that if we give up less than 24 or less than 21, we were 6-0. When we gave up more, we were 0-6. That’s one that I had a close eye on.”

For a complete transcript of Iowa State’s post game press conference, CLICK HERE. What the Fanatics are saying CyForPresident says: Jesse Smith is the example for all of Iowa State. That guy was walk-on, almost quit, then becames All Big 12 in his senior year, and on his last play ever single handedly wins the bowl game. Outstanding.

ISUAlum2002 says: I remember chuckling to myself before the season started whenever I heard players and coaches talking about winning a bowl game this season. I always just figured we were a season or two away from that with how poorly they’ve looked in the past 2 years under the Chiz. Man oh man…..I’m glad they proved me wrong.

AtlantaCyclone writes: To state the obvious:

1. We have as many wins this season as in the past THREE! 2. Bowl victories do not come often for ISU, is this the third? 3. We almost reversed roles with Nebraska in this game. Great job bending but not breaking! 4. I’m so happy, but it hasn’t really hit me yet….

Be sure to keep checking out from now until spring football for a look back at the 2009 season. I can guarantee you that we’ll be peaking ahead to 2010 in the very near future as well.

To read the Iowa State athletic department’s official release on the bowl victory, CLICK HERE. FINAL BOX SCORE

From the Ames Tribune


Cyclone Fanatic