Each day leading up to Iowa State’s season opener against South Dakota State, Cyclone Fanatic will check another day off the calendar with a memorable statistic, player or game as part of our Countdown to Kickoff presented by Tailgate Clothing.

Iowa State football has already locked in its non-conference schedules for the next three seasons, but that never stops fans from discussing ideal potential opponents. One of the teams that will come up often in those discussions is neighbor to the north — Minnesota.

The Cyclones and Gophers have done battle on the gridiron 26 times since 1895 with the most recent game coming in 2009, a 14-13 Iowa State win in the Insight Bowl. Iowa State’s most recent victory was only the program’s third over Minnesota with the other two coming in 1897 and 1898.

The two programs played annually up until 1915 then has twice rekindled the matchup with two-year series in 1923/1924 and 1989/1990. The Gophers won three of those games with the 1924 contest ending in a 7-7 tie (which sounds like some incredibly riveting football).

A potential matchup between the two programs would also come with the added layer of the former-MAC rivalry between Matt Campbell and PJ Fleck, both of which are considered among the best young coaches in the game.

It is unlikely Iowa State will add another Power 5 opponent to its schedule as long as the annual rivalry with Iowa exists, but if they were to do so, Minnesota should be one program that gets a long look for a potential home-and-home series.

Jared Stansbury


Jared is in his sixth year covering Iowa State football and basketball for Cyclone Fanatic. He's the site's lead reporter for ISU recruiting. He worked as the site's intern for three years while studying Journalism in Iowa State's Greenlee School of Journalism. He started as the full-time staff writer in May 2016. Jared spent five falls covering Iowa high school football as a reporter for KMA Radio, 1460 KXNO and 1430 KASI.