Best ISU Football Team You've Watched

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MuskieCy

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Nov 4, 2006
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Multiple times in Clyde Williams, almost all in the Jack.

1976, an offensive juggernaut. 430 yards per game were silly numbers then. The last game loss at o$u led to no post season. I State ranked #14, o$u #16. yuk

Film sessions with Earle Bruce at the M-Shop were fun.
 
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theshadow

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Apr 19, 2006
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8-3 didn't get a bowl game?
Nope. ISU needed to beat Oklahoma State in its last game to guarantee a bowl bid. Once they lost that game, they needed Neby to beat OU. Doing so would have put Neby in the Orange Bowl and ISU would get a bowl invite. Neby lost the game and the bowl committee gave them an invite instead of ISU, even though ISU beat Neby and they had the same record. How is that for fairness?
There were only 12 bowl games in 1976 (compared to the 40+ we have today). Beyond a handful of conference champs, there was no such thing as a conference tie-in. Bowl invites couldn't "officially" be made until the third Saturday of November, but deals were regularly brokered behind closed doors starting once the calendar flipped to November.

Oklahoma accepted the Fiesta on 11/20. They still had Nebraska the following week.
OSU accepted a Tangerine bid on 11/21 after beating ISU. They still had a non-conference game to play.

At that point, it appeared that NU would beat OU and go to the Orange, which would leave the door open for the Bluebonnet to take ISU as its backup pick (they wanted NU bad). When OU beat NU, everything flipped -- Colorado ended up as the Big 8 champ via tiebreaker and got the Orange, which left Nebraska available. The Bluebonnet got its #1 choice (NU), and ISU was left in the cold.
 

beentherebefore

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Nov 24, 2007
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There were only 12 bowl games in 1976 (compared to the 40+ we have today). Beyond a handful of conference champs, there was no such thing as a conference tie-in. Bowl invites couldn't "officially" be made until the third Saturday of November, but deals were regularly brokered behind closed doors starting once the calendar flipped to November.

Oklahoma accepted the Fiesta on 11/20. They still had Nebraska the following week.
OSU accepted a Tangerine bid on 11/21 after beating ISU. They still had a non-conference game to play.

At that point, it appeared that NU would beat OU and go to the Orange, which would leave the door open for the Bluebonnet to take ISU as its backup pick (they wanted NU bad). When OU beat NU, everything flipped -- Colorado ended up as the Big 8 champ via tiebreaker and got the Orange, which left Nebraska available. The Bluebonnet got its #1 choice (NU), and ISU was left in the cold.
How "classic Iowa State" is it that the best team in school history is the one that did not go to a bowl?
 

Cyfern

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Sep 26, 2019
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Stanley actually got knocked out of the Nebraska game and Buddy Hardeman stepped in. He was a better runner than Stanley and Osborne actually thought he was the difference maker in the game. Most fans would go with Luther Blue after his kickoff return for the touchdown.
The Luther Blue kick-off return was a piece of art.
 

theshadow

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Apr 19, 2006
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No. We should not have won that game. It was in Stillwater and Terry Miller killed us. I was there.
Then you remember ISU basically handing OSU 21 free points -- which was coincidentally the final margin.

Hixon fumbled a punt inside the 10. OSU recovered, and scored on the next play.
Hardeman fumbled, the ball rolled backward about 20 yards to the 1. OSU recovered, and scored on the next play.
Soon after, Dexter fumbled near midfield, and OSU scored on its next possession.

Hardeman threw a pick in the end zone that was intended for Al Dixon -- would have closed it to 35-28. (Both Earle and Buddy were adamant that there was either holding or PI.)

Then, OSU was up 14 with just over a minute left and ran a "fumbleroosky" version of a fake punt for a 42-yard TD.
 

CTTB78

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Apr 7, 2006
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Showing my age but it has to be the 1976 team that went 8-3 in the Big Eight.....Beat top 20 teams NE and Mizzou, and played OU to 6-6 tie into the 4th qtr. Surprisingly, despite their record and the 2nd leading offense in the nation they did not go to a bowl game.
When the '76 team left the field at halftime tied against #3 Oklahoma you knew Bruce had a special team. Then Joe Washington happened. He was one of the best backs in the country and the Cyclones could only contain him so long.
 

cyyote15

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Nov 3, 2013
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I'll go with the single game like I did in the worst team thread and say the 2018 win over West Virginia in Ames. Night game, highly ranked opponent, and the Cyclones were in total control from start to finish. Complete game on both sides of the ball. Maybe not the most inspired effort - hard to top the Kyle Kempt game - but probably their best and most complete game in the CMC era to date.
You forgot to mention holding a Heisman candidate to just 100 yards passing.
 

VeloClone

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Jan 19, 2010
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You forgot to mention holding a Heisman candidate to just 100 yards passing.
His (and his coaching staff's) arrogance was their undoing. Instead of taking what was there, and throwing the ball away when necessary, he thought - and the coaches thought - they could force their will upon ISU's defense. That defense was built around taking away what Big 12 offenses wanted to do and only give them what they were uncomfortable doing. That is why a team like KSU was harder for it to shut down. The Vampire was more than willing to dink, dunk and scramble down the field. Most Big 12 offenses aren't happy unless they are regularly getting the "big play".
 

VeloClone

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Jan 19, 2010
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I have to say the 2017 squad is my pick, since I didn't follow college football in the '70s. Beating #3 (road), #4, #19 (neutral) and coming oh so close to beating #12, as well as another OT loss in there is a pretty quality resume.

I'm not going to even go into the hack job by the zebras taking away a win ISU had in the bag in Manhattan.
 

farminclone

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Nov 16, 2009
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That 2017 team was a few plays away from completely blowing the minds of ISU fans.

Great season, but so close to something special and rare at Iowa State.
 

dualthreat

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Oct 8, 2008
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2005 should have easily been the best team in ISU history - and as such probably qualifies as the most disappointing. What was arguably the best defense in ISU history was absolutely squandered. If we're going to be honest, 2005 more than 2006 cost McCarney his job - 2006 just sealed it.
That's exactly right. In 2013, 14, 15 when Rhoads was on the chopping block people on here kept saying Pollard axed Mac after just one bad season.

Ultimately he was fired because of the '04 and '05 flops instead of the '06 major flop (which we were predicted 2nd in the North). It was time for Mac to go.

Side note, Mac was such a small reason why we never competed for a championship while he was here. This whole program was in disarray while he was here he never truly had a chance
 

SCyclone

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Mar 11, 2014
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The '76 season:
Date Opponent Rank Site Result
September 11 Drake*
W 58–14
September 18 at Air Force*
W 41–6
September 25 Kent State*
  • Cyclone Stadium
  • Ames, IA
W 47–7
October 2 No. 3 Oklahoma
  • Cyclone Stadium
  • Ames, IA
L 10–24
October 9 Utah*
  • Cyclone Stadium
  • Ames, IA
W 44–14
October 16 at No. 7 Missouri
W 21–17
October 23 at Colorado No. 16
L 14–33
October 30 Kansas State
  • Cyclone Stadium
  • Ames, IA (rivalry)
W 45–14
November 6 at Kansas
W 31–17
November 13 No. 9 Nebraska
  • Cyclone Stadium
  • Ames, IA
W 37–28
November 20 at No. 16 Oklahoma State No. 14
L 21–42
  • *Non-conference game
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game

One of the most exciting offenses ever....Stanley was the chucker, Hardeman the change-of-pace running QB. Dexter. Luther. Jim Wingender. It seemed like they scored on every possession.

My senior year, and some great memories. (Special mention to the home opener the year prior, the christening of JTS. September 20 vs. Air Force, a cold, raw, windy day. The north wind shot through that place like a wind tunnel.)
 

theshadow

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Apr 19, 2006
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When the '76 team left the field at halftime tied against #3 Oklahoma you knew Bruce had a special team. Then Joe Washington happened. He was one of the best backs in the country and the Cyclones could only contain him so long.
Washington was 1972-75.

The '76 game was 10-10 with ~5:00 left, then Horace Ivory ripped off a long TD run and OU got a long pick-six with under 2:00 to go to seal it.
 

20eyes

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May 15, 2020
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The 2002, 2005 and 2012 teams would be up there had they taken care of business.
2005 should have easily been the best team in ISU history - and as such probably qualifies as the most disappointing. What was arguably the best defense in ISU history was absolutely squandered. If we're going to be honest, 2005 more than 2006 cost McCarney his job - 2006 just sealed it.
We should have at least been 11-1 in 2005. 3 of our 4 losses that regular season were in OT after we pissed away 4th quarter leads, and we probably beat Baylor if the offense bothers to show up in the second half. Was always the biggest problem with the McCarney era, and it killed us in 2005 - with the exception of Iowa, almost every single time he got a lead he started playing not to lose instead of trying to put the nail in the coffin.
The 2005 team had the best defense I have ever seen for Iowa State. Just going through that roster on defense is impressive even now...

Jason Berryman
Big Play Curvey
Nick Leaders
Tim Dobbins
Lamarcus Hicks
Deandre Jackson
Steve Paris

...plus some other quality guys. That defense was full of guys who have legitimate cases to be all-timers at their position for the program.

Should have been 12-0 despite the average offense...

View attachment 73767

W
W
W
Lost in 2 OT
How we lost at home to pre-Briles Baylor I will never understand
Lost in OT
W
W
W
W
Lost in OT
Lost by 3

That team should have went 12-0 and rose to #3 in the rankings, had the honor of being crushed by #2 Texas in Houston, and then went to a BCS game.

The 2005 team is the best Iowa State team I can remember seeing before Campbell came around despite it only going 6-7 with all those close losses.
2005 defense was, without exaggeration one of the best in the country


yes, that 2005 defense was really one of the top 10 defenses in the country. It was loaded. Such a wasted opportunity.
I'm late to the party and excluding the Matt Campbell era and the '76 Clones (before my time) it's the 2005 Cyclones. That defense owned Iowa (UI got past the 50 yard line ONCE that day) and that offense absolutely embarrassed aTm.

And as mentioned, McCarney can thank that season (specifically the KU loss) for putting him on the hot seat. The saddest thing to me is that we'll never know if they could've hung with UT in the Championship game. Those players like Curvey and Tim Dobbins (who is one of my all time favorites) really deserved a shot at Texas.

Regardless, that was the best team I remember as a Cyclones fan.
 

CyBobby

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Oct 18, 2006
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1976. Nothing compares. 3rd ranked O in the nation. Wayne Stanley QB + Dexter Green RB. And the best ever D-line to wear a Cyclone uni.
Should have won the last game vs OSU to qualify for a bowl game, but there weren't many bowls at the time so our 8-3 team had to stay home.
Actually if you remember right ISU still had been in a Bowl Game if ....The Nebraska Cornhuskers had beaten Oklahoma in Lincoln NE....The Okies trailed the whole game but won it late by passing yes I said Passing the football and scored the winning touchdown late in the fourth qtr....
 
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CyBobby

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Oct 18, 2006
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Central Iowa
1976. OU, Nebraska, OSU, Colorado and Iowa State were ranked in the final poll. ISU at #19 and no bowl.

Wasn't Stanley hurt for final game?
Oh yes Wayne Stanley was injured late in the 2nd quarter ...Knee Injury...and Wayne did not play in the 2nd half or the rest of the season...Buddy Hardeman and Dexter Green just ran the ball down the vaunted Nebraska defense to win one of the greatest games never to be telecast......on a Cold Sunny day ...The crowd was amped up and ready to go and the Huskers coaches kept complaining that their players couldnt hear the starting count.....What a glorious day to be young and witness one of the greatest games ever played at JTS.....dont believe me...Just ask Tom Osborne what he thought about the game...Tom complained about the crowd noise for years after that loss
 
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Sigmapolis

Minister of Economy
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The saddest thing to me is that we'll never know if they could've hung with UT in the Championship game. Those players like Curvey and Tim Dobbins (who is one of my all time favorites) really deserved a shot at Texas.
I do not think they win that game in Houston -- Texas (and Southern California, for that matter) were historically great teams and programs at that point.

I think we would have done better than 70-3 like Colorado, though.

Maybe if the defense from the Iowa game and the offense from the Texas A&M game shows up... who knows, maybe we keep it at least close.