Monday Musings: Something worse than a 62-yarder is coming…

Jan 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Iowa State Cyclones linebacker O’Rien Vance and quarterback Brock Purdy (right) celebrate as they receive the defensive and offensive players of the game awards after defeating the Oregon Ducks 34-17 at the 50th PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Network

I slammed the front door to my house on Saturday afternoon in a moment of rage. I chucked the plastic cup I was holding into the kitchen sink like I was Randy Johnson releasing a 100 MPH fastball and I let out six words…

“Sixty-two *bleeping* yard field goal. Unbelievable.”

The real-life version wasn’t edited.

I was angry after Iowa State’s 41-38 loss to Texas Tech. I was as angry as I’ve been after an Iowa State sporting event in a long time — maybe as mad as I’ve ever allowed myself to get from a sporting event .

None of the anger was directed towards the players or the coaches. It was really directed at nobody in particular. I was just mad and disappointed that this season we all thought would be special had swirled down the toilet in spectacular fashion off the foot of a Texas Tech kicker from 62 yards away.

Realistically, Iowa State’s loss to Texas Tech had little to do with the 62-yard field goal, but the kick was still what fueled my anger.

You can’t allow 529 yards of total offense and expect to win. You can’t be more than doubled up in the run game and expect to win. You can’t allow 31 points in the first half and be trailing by 17 points at halftime and expect to win.

And yet, Iowa State had a chance to win. The Cyclones had a chance to win in regulation, but failed to complete a game-winning drive with a minute on the clock and instead settled for a field goal.

Iowa State would have to hold out its hopes for overtime, where I felt the Cyclones would have a great chance to win the football game. I mentally prepared myself for that opportunity, then 62 freaking yards happened.

Big 12 championship hopes were extinguished. The odds of Iowa State returning to the top-25 this season grew much slimmer. And the chance at a repeat New Year’s Six bowl appearance disappeared.

What once felt like a perfect storm of opportunity for Iowa State football to level up in 2021 had become a storm of disappointment and regret. We got caught up in our own storm.

The disappointment will surely last a long time, but we can’t allow the regret to linger.

We are now guaranteed only three more opportunities to watch the greatest collection of Cyclone football players ever assembled.

Brock Purdy, Mike Rose, Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen, Enyi Uwazurike, Greg Eisworth and numerous others will participate in senior day at Jack Trice Stadium in less than two weeks.

Breece Hall and Will McDonald will (most likely) have their opportunities to move into the next phase of their football-playing lives.

And all of us will have to say goodbye.

It hurts to write that. It hurts to know that is coming so quickly, but time slows for nobody, especially in college sports. It all has to come to an end eventually.

That’s why we cannot allow the regret to linger forever.

We can never repay these young men for what they’ve done for our school and our football program. We can never repay them for the lifetime of memories they’ve provided us during their Iowa State careers — and specifically the monumentally special 2020 season.

Purdy arrived in Ames with considerable hype after choosing the Cyclones over Alabama and Texas A&M. As hard as it would’ve been to believe back in February 2018, he’s delivered and then some.

He will leave the school as the program’s all-time leader in wins as a starting quarterback. That’s one of roughly 35 school records the Gilbert, Ariz. native will hold by the time his name is called one last time as the starter at the Jack.

From his breakout against Oklahoma State as a true freshman to his magnificent performance against the Cowboys as a senior, Purdy was the ultimate competitor through each and every moment in between.

It would have been hard to imagine him challenging to be the greatest No. 15 to ever wear the Cardinal and Gold.

That’s exactly what he’s done.

Kolar is the greatest tight end to ever wear an Iowa State uniform. If you don’t believe me, just check the record book. He owns every record a tight end could possibly hold.

Hopefully, he’ll add the John Mackey Award to his list of accolades next month. I know he’ll have a wisecrack or two to go along with whatever message of thanks accompanies winning the award.

Allen has never garnered the same headlines as Kolar, but that’s because the Nixa, Mo. native does his dirty work in the dark. Chase Allen just puts his hard hat on and his head down and goes to work.

He’s pretty damn good at doing that work. I’ll never forget watching his commitment announcement on signing day in 2016. He chose the Cyclones over Michigan and Nebraska. He was Matt Campbell’s first really major offensive recruiting victory at Iowa State.

Man, that feels like a lifetime ago.

Mike Rose, Enyi Uwazurike and Greg Eisworth are three of the pillars of Iowa State’s defensive resurgence. Only Uwazurike was here for that entire process, but it is hard to imagine a great Cyclone defense without No. 12 and No. 23 — also known as the Super Smash Bros.

Rose belongs in the conversation as the greatest linebacker to play at Iowa State. I have no idea if he is the greatest, but he belongs in the conversation. He is the model of consistency.

Mike Rose showed up every single week and put his body on the line with the goal of helping Iowa State win football games. He started every single one of the 45 games in his Iowa State career prior to missing the loss to West Virginia. It is a shame his body broke down for the first time in his collegiate career just as it was reaching its conclusion.

Eisworth was the linchpin in allowing Iowa State’s defensive staff to build its current scheme. That’s why he’s the first Cyclone to ever earn three first-team All-Big 12 honors and is a three-time captain.

He did all that without ever telling you how good he is. He just kept quiet, went to work and led by example — then made play-after-play on Saturdays.

A picture of Enyi Uwazurike belongs next to the word perseverance in the dictionary. The Detroit native has played in 57 games as a Cyclone. It seems like all of his best performances have come in his last 10 games.

He’ll leave Iowa State in the school’s top-10 for tackles for loss and sacks. I’m willing to bet he made himself a whole bunch of money by coming back for a sixth season in Ames.

I can’t wait to watch him on Sundays for a decade. He’s earned the opportunity.

How silly does it seem now that Hall’s decision to wear the No. 28 was controversial when he joined the program back in 2019? He’s lived up to the number and then some.

The three leading rushers in Iowa State history have all worn the No. 28. This most recent one has done more than enough to make the first two — brothers Troy and Darren Davis — proud.

It’s awfully nice to have a guy wearing No. 28 on your team.

Maybe that’s what the number becomes moving forward, something special that can only be chosen by the program’s best and protected by the program as something that cannot be taken lightly. It isn’t just another number.

That’s the number of legends.

I’ll never forget Matt Campbell telling me Will McDonald was the best defensive player they’d recruited. That was prior to the 2018 season when McDonald had just joined the program.

We saw flashes that season, but he ultimately took a redshirt. We saw more flashes in 2019, but the onslaught came in 2020 when he formed one of the most prolific pass-rushing duos in the country with JaQuan Bailey.

In 2021, he’s been even better alongside Uwazurike. You can live a long time, watch a lot of great players and never have a pass rusher like McDonald on your team. He’s special.

I guess Matt Campbell was right. Seems like he does that a lot.

I write all of that to say this — do not let these two weeks pass you by in a haze of disappointment. Do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of feeling like there’s nothing left after falling out of championship contention.

This group of guys I mentioned — and all those I didn’t because I don’t want to write a 10,000-word column on a Monday — deserve better than that. They’ve given us their all each and every week regardless of the stakes.

We owe it to them to do the same.

Because something much worse than the disappointment of a 62-freaking-yard field goal is coming sooner than any of us would care to admit — and it is going to hurt in the worst way.

So, smile as you watch these guys in Cardinal and Gold. Cheer as loud as you can each of these next two weeks. Show them how much you appreciate the memories that will last a lifetime.

Then it will be time to say goodbye.

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.