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Iowa State Cyclones Football

Iowa State Cyclones Football

 The Iowa State Cyclones football team has a long, proud tradition of excellence on the field. Much of the credit is due to their players, of course. But, the successive line of coaches who guided the players through the years have played a role that is just as significant. Below, we’ll briefly explore the roles played by a few of the high-profile players and coaches on the Iowa State Cyclones football team.

Players Making A Mark

Troy Davis made a clear mark on the Cyclones football program by setting a number of attention-grabbing rushing records. Between 1995 and 1997, Davis set records for total rushing yards in a single game, a single season, and overall. In 1997, he decided to abandon his college playing career for the NFL draft. He was brought aboard the New Orleans Saints and played in the NFL for 3 years.

Ellis Hobbs enrolled at Iowa State University in 2001 with high expectations. He played impressively in high school and continued to capture attention while playing for the Cyclones. Due to his collegiate performance, he was awarded All-Big 12 Conference first team honors before being drafted in 2005 to the New England Patriots. Hobbs, a proven kick returner on the Cyclones, set the NFL record – and still holds it – for the longest kickoff return.

Seneca Wallace stunned fans and Cyclones teammates in 2002 with a 12-yard touchdown that required running 120 yards to achieve. Backing up, dodging, and barely escaping tackles, Wallace became an instant star on the field. In 2003, he was drafted to the Seattle Seahawks, and he continues to play in the NFL today.


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Top Head Coaches and Seasons

Johnny Majors

In 1971 Iowa State finished the season 8–4 under Majors, it was the Cyclones first bowl bid ever in his fourth season. The team was led by George Amundson, who Majors called “the finest athlete I have coached in any job I have had.” Offensively they were led by Amundson who rushed for 1,260 yards as a running back, including a school record of 15 touchdowns. End Keith Krepfle had 40 receptions for 570 yards and 12 touchdowns. Quarterback Dean Carlson threw for a school record of 1,867 yards.

1972 saw the loss of five starters and the move of George Amundson from running back to quarterback to replace Dean Carlson. The Clones lost LB Matt Blair to a pre season injury which forced him into a medical redshirt. The Cyclones fought Nebraska to a 23–23 tie. Three players went on to be named to the All-Big Eight team, OL Geary Murdoch, DE Merv Krakau and QB George Amundson. George Amundson was named Big Eight player of the year over Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers.

Johnny Majors finished with a 24-30 record at Iowa State.

All-Americans under Major

  • 1972 QB George Amundson
  • 1972 E Merv Krakau
  • 1972 G Geary Murdock

Earle Bruce

In 1976 the team finished the season with an 8–3 record and a No. 18 ranking, but was snubbed by the bowls even though their losses were to the #1, #2 and #3 teams in the country. Bruce was selected as the Big Eight Coach of the year and had four players garner all conference honors, including Luther Blue, a Split End, who was an All-American.

The Cyclones had another good season in 1977, they beat Nebraska for the second year in a row and earned a berth in the Peach Bowl.  The Peach Bowl saw the matchup of two stellar running backs, NC State’s Ted Brown and Iowa State’s Dexter Green. NC State dropped Iowa State 24-14 in the bowl game.

The Cyclones returned 14 starters in 1978 including Dexter Green and Outland Trophy hopeful, Mike Stensrud. Iowa State’s post season hopes came down to their last game against Colorado. The game was close throughout, with ISU clinging to a 17–10 halftime lead.  The second half was a defensive battle, but the ISU defense came up with big plays down the stretch. Mike Stensrud had 16 stops and caused a fumble to help ISU preserve a 20–16 win over the Buffs. The win earned ISU a Hall of Fame Bowl bid.  Iowa State fell to Texas A&M 28-12 in the Hall of Fame bowl.

Earle Bruce finished with a 36-32 record at Iowa State.

All-Americans under Bruce

  • 1973 ROV Matt Blair
  • 1974 S Barry Hill
  • 1976 SE Luther Blue
  • 1977 NG Ron McFarland
  • 1978 TB Dexter Green
  • 1978 DT Mike Stensrud

Dan McCarney

In 2000, McCarney took the Cyclones to their first bowl game since 1978, and their first ever bowl victory. Led by senior QB Sage Rosenfels, the Cyclones beat the Panthers 37-29  in the Bowl.

Propelled by newcomer Seneca Wallace, the Cyclones went to a second bowl game in 2001 against Alabama in the Independence Bowl.  They lost the game on a disputed missed field goal by Cyclone kicker Tony Yelk, some people thought the field goal sailed directly over the right goal post.  Alabama won the game 14-13.

Seneca Wallace would lead the Cyclones to a 6–1 start in 2002, including a near-win against Florida State in the Eddie Robinson Classic. Wallace dove towards the goal line at the last second but was ruled out shy of the end zone.  They finished the season 7-7 following a loss to Boise State in the Humanitarian Bowl.

In 2004, redshirt freshman Bret Meyer took over the quarterback spot and paired up with fellow redshirt freshman receiver Todd Blythe to make a lethal combination.  The Cyclones had a chance to win the Big 12 North Title but fell short after a Missouri defender intercepted a pass intended for Jon Davis in the end zone. The Cyclones would go on to play the Miami RedHawks in the Independence Bowl. They won the game 17–13 and finished the season 7–5.

The Cyclones continued their success under McCarney in the 2005 season with a 7–5 record. They missed out yet again on the Big 12 title when they lost in overtime to the Kansas Jayhawks after a missed field goal by Bret Culbertson.  They led the game in the 4th quarter but allowed Kansas to come back. They got a berth in the 2005 Houston Bowl, but lost 24–27 to the TCU Horned Frogs.

Dan McCarney finished with a 56-85 record at Iowa State.

All-Americans under McCarney

  • 1995 RB Troy Davis
  • 1996 RB Troy Davis
  • 2000 C Ben Bruns

Paul Rhoads

In October 2009 the Cyclones defeated Baylor to end an 11 game losing stretch against conference opponents, and then went on to defeat Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time since 1977. On December 31, 2009 the Cyclones capped off their season with an Bowl victory over Minnesota.

In 2011 Iowa State started off the season 3-0 including a triple overtime win over Iowa in Ames, and a win over Connecticut in East Hartford. The Cyclones would drop the next four games, starting out 0-4 in conference play but quickly bounce back. The Cyclones rebounded with a 41-7 win on October 29th at No. 19 Texas Tech. On November 18, Iowa State faced off against undefeated No. 2 Oklahoma State. Down 24-7 early in the second half, Iowa State came back  to beat Oklahoma State 37-31, smashing Oklahoma State’s chances of playing for a national championship.  Iowa State became bowl eligible with the win.  The Cyclones dropped the bowl game 27-13 to Rutgers.

Paul Rhoads currently holds an 24-27 record at Iowa State.


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Current Iowa State Cyclones in the NFL

Tim Dobbins Houston Texans Linebacker
AJ Klein Carolina Panthers Linebacker
Jake Knott Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker
Leonard Johnson Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive Back
Kelechi Osemele Baltimore Ravens Offensive Tackle
Carter Bykowski San Francisco 49ers Offensive Tackle
Ahtyba Rubin Cleveland Browns Defensive Tackle
Reggie Stephens Baltimore Ravens Center
Seneca Wallace Green Bay Packers Quarterback


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