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 a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.