Iowa State was coming off confidence-building wins over Kansas State and Colorado — its only league victories of the year — when it traveled to Lawrence, Kan., for the season finale.
Then, disaster. Kansas made the Cyclones look like a JV team in a 45-7 disaster.
KU ended up in the Orange Bowl. ISU trudged home with its tail between its legs. Not the way a young, impressionable team wanted to go into the offseason.
“I’d like to forget that game,” ISU coach Gene Chizik said when the defeat was referenced this week heading into Saturday’s meeting with the 16th-ranked Jayhawks.
KU finished with a whopping 556 yards of offense. Quarterback Todd Reesing was 21 of 26 passing for 253 yards and four touchdowns.
The Cyclones totaled just 234 yards and — to add further embarrassment — was on the cover of the following week’s Sports Illustrated capturing receiver Kerry Meier scoring one of KU’s six touchdowns with linebacker Jesse Smith lagging behind.
“What went right? Nothing,” Chizik said. “Kansas outplayed us in every way, shape and form. Whatever they wanted to do, they did it. We didn’t give them a game.”
The 56-3 home loss to Texas earlier in the season was more lopsided. But this one had a deeper meaning, in part because the Cyclones were feeling they were moving up the Big 12 food chain.
“It gave us a chance to level our minds and know that we had to keep getting better and improving in the offseason,” linebacker Fred Garrin said.
They have. Is it enough to take down Kansas this week? We shall see.