The waiting is the hardest part, Tom Petty told us all. Fans of Iowa and Iowa State lived it out all too well on Saturday as their annual battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy turned into an all-day affair that ended with yet another one-score classic that will have the state talking for next several years.
The Hawkeyes wound up pulling out the 18-17 victory, making big plays down the stretch in the second half to beat their rival Cyclones for the fifth time in a row. Both sides waited out two first half weather delays, spanning nearly three hours total, to cap off the thriller in wet conditions that was anything but easy for all involved.
QB Nate Stanley kept his record perfect against the school across the state, throwing for 197 yards and making several clutch passes in the second half to put his team in position to win. He did most of the heavy lifting offensively given how tough it was to run the ball (117 yards on the ground) in the hard-hitting affair. Iowa had their chances to break open the game earlier on but couldn’t quite find the end zone as they settled for a number of early field goals. Eventually Stanley found pay dirt in the third quarter by running in a keeper and helped lead the go-ahead drive midway through the fourth.
The loss was tough to handle for the home crowd in Ames, which was fired from their first appearance from ESPN’s College GameDay early in the day but never could seize momentum they had from several big plays. Wideout Deshaunte Jones scored the game’s initial touchdown off a trick play by throwing it 51-yards down the field to La'Michael Pettway. ISU quarterback Brock Purdy was solid in first start in the series (he was on the bench last year as a true freshman) and threw for 276 yards and a touchdown, with most of the action going to receiver Tarique Milton (144 of those yards and the score).
In the end though, it wasn’t enough as the offense failed to even have a chance for a game-winning drive thanks to a muffed punt in the final 90 seconds. Iowa remains on their now-five game winning streak in the series and haven’t lost in Ames since 2011’s memorable triple overtime affair. Kirk Ferentz’ squad should move up in the polls given the chaos elsewhere in college football Saturday while their rivals can wonder what-if as they move into Big 12 play.