Football

STANZ: Now, we wait…

Iowa State head football coach Matt Campbell celebrates with running back Breece Hall, left, and quarterback Brock Purdy, right, after Purdy tossed a passing touchdown to Hall in the third quarter against TCU on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

AMES — And now, we wait.

That’s the only thing left for us to do after Iowa State’s 48-14 domination of TCU on Black Friday at Jack Trice Stadium. We wait for the Cyclones’ bowl game destination. We wait for news of Breece Hall and Will McDonald‘s professional futures.

We wait for news of Matt Campbell‘s future in Ames.

It would be ignorant of us to ignore the rumors and swirling smoke. We’ve all seen the talk of Campbell’s alleged courtship by USC and numerous other major programs.

We’ve all heard how this time is different, how Campbell seems more receptive to leaving Ames than he has at any other point in his tenure.

But, the reality is we don’t know. Nobody does, besides the man who has been the face of the most successful run in Iowa State football history.

All the rest of us can do is wait.

“Jamie (Pollard) and I will sit down I’m sure and talk about what the future holds, how do we continue to move this thing forward and then you continue to make the best decision of how you do those things the right way,” Campbell said after the game. “It’s always been about, man, we’ve built this thing to last for the long haul. We’ve never shortcutted. We’ve lived in the present.”

The present has more often than not been pretty damn fun to dwell in for Iowa State football, its fans and everyone connected to the program. It has been as much fun as anything I’ve ever had an opportunity to cover in my eight years working for this website.

Sure, some moments were so incredibly frustrating, but it always came back to the remembrance of where we came from and the realization of just how far this program has come in the six years since Campbell was hired as head coach.

Friday at Jack Trice Stadium felt like the end of something. It was the end of something for a group of seniors that make up the most successful class in Iowa State football history.

It very well may be the end of something for Hall, who dominated the entirety of Friday’s game with 242 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns plus 39 receiving yards and another touchdown.

If that’s the last time we see Breece Hall in an Iowa State uniform, he went out in the best way possible. I wasn’t old enough to witness what Troy Davis did during his two-year stretch of dominance in Ames, but, as I sit here today, it would be hard to imagine watching an Iowa State football player better at their respective position than Hall is at his.

That young man, like many others who have come through this program in the last five years, is special.

“As special as I’ve seen him,” Campbell said of his star tailback. “I would hate to discredit those other 10 players out there. Boy, oh boy, if there is a better running back in college football, I’d love to see him. If this is it for Breece Hall, this is one heck of a way to go out.”

If this is how Campbell chooses to go out in Ames, he picked one heck of a way to go out, too.

Friday’s win was his 42nd at Iowa State, tying him for second in school history. He was already the program’s winningest coach against Big 12 opponents by a wide margin, but this was an added domination of a fellow Big 12 foe to join a list of numerous others.

As of next Monday, Campbell will have been Iowa State’s head coach for exactly six years. Imagine being able to go back in time to tell yourself on Nov. 29, 2015, what was coming for us all.

It wouldn’t have been believable. None of these things seemed possible.

Iowa State consistently dominating other Big 12 teams? Yeah, right.

Iowa State playing for a Big 12 championship? Get real.

Iowa State winning a Fiesta Bowl? You’re living in a different reality.

But, that is our reality.

While this Iowa State football season might not have been what we all hoped it would be, it was still something special with numerous of the program’s all-time greats rolling through simultaneously.

And a head coach that made us all believe anything was possible.

“Coach (Jon) Heacock said something really powerful last night to our kids and I think he was right on, ‘For the last five years, Iowa State football, every time they’ve went on the field and played, they’ve given everybody something to hope for, something to live for and something to love for.’ It’s a really special group,” Campbell said. “If you missed the story, shame on you. I think it’s a story that’s really powerful in a place and a time that it’s never been done.”

As Campbell would say, that’s powerful.

Everything about this program’s rise has been powerful and whatever comes next could be as well with some young players that have received rave reviews from everyone who has been able to watch them at practice every day.

Friday felt like the end, but it could still just be the beginning.

Before we find out, there is only one thing we can do — and that is to wait.

“Have a great night, you guys,” Campbell said. “Have a great Thanksgiving weekend. We’ll see you soon.”

I sure hope you do, Coach.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

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.

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