Archive for October, 2009

Cyclone history for sale

October 31, 2009

Iowa State’s 9-7 victory over Nebraska — and the celebration that ensued — will forever live on in the hearts, minds and computers of Cyclone fans.

The historic win — ISU’s first at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln since 1977 — can now forever be a conversation piece in your living room.

Better act fast though.

A football used during the game is being auctioned off at ISU’s athletic web site (www.cyclones.com) until 4 p.m. Monday.  It is signed by Coach Paul Rhoads and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

This could be a whopper of a profit for the athletic department, compared with the typical auction fare.

The bidding was up to $750 as of Friday night. It began at $200. Eleven bids later, the price of poker went up substantially.

If this goes anything like eBay auctions, the bidding could get interesting during Monday’s final hour.

I’ll post the winning bid once it goes final.

Adjustments to kicking game; tix update for Okie State game

October 28, 2009

In response to a question about Iowa State’s struggling kicking game, Coach Paul Rhoads said Monday night on his call-in show that holder Derec Schmidgall and kicker Grant Mahoney will set up a yard or two deeper when kicking field goals and PATs starting this week against Texas A&M.

Mahoney had one of each blocked last week at Nebraska and, as we all remember, had the game-tying PAT blocked in the final minute in a loss to Kansas State that was the start of his difficulties.

He’s made only four of his last field goals and either shanked or had blocked four PAT tries in the last four games after making the first 47 of his career.

The sophomore from Marion clearly is in a funk.

“It’s certainly a major issue with this football team and we’ll address it like anything else,” Rhoads said. “We’re always talking about adjusting because Grant’s ball doesn’t necessarily lift up as much as you would like.”

It didn’t help that Husker defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh easily shed his blocker and barged through the middle of the line to swat away Mahoney’s kick.

“There were a number of things that contributed to the blocked kicks, not just Grant,” Rhoads continued. “We’re working rapidly to make sure that we fix all of those things and don’t repeat it. What’s taken place before isn’t a repeated mistake. These were new issues that we got to deal with.”

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Also heard on this week’s call-in show, ISU had sold just 39,000 tickets as of Monday for next week’s game against No. 13 Oklahoma State at Jack Trice Stadium.

Athletic Director Jamie Pollard said the OSU game and the Cyclones’ previous home game with Baylor — which drew a crowd of 42,253 — were not sold as part of ISU’s mini-pack ticket package, which sets the attendance total back 5,000 right off the bat.

The first three home games of the season (No. Dakota State, Iowa and Army) averaged 50,484.

Pollard strongly encourages fans (I’m paraphrasing him here) to show their support and come out for the game, which will kickoff at either 11:30, 2:30 or  7 p.m. depending on what the television networks decide. That will be known Sunday.

ISU could be playing for bowl eligibility for the first time since 2005.

Burnham on former Fla. State boss Bowden

October 28, 2009

Iowa State’s defense isn’t the only thing on Wally Burnham’s mind these days.

Like many in the coaching profession, the Cyclone defensive coordinator is disappointed with Florida State’s treatment of longtime head coach Bobby Bowden, who has come under fire this season because of his team’s poor performance.

The chairman of the school’s board of trustees came out publicly saying Bowden, who will turn 80 next month, should retire after the season.

The Seminoles (3-3, 1-2 ACC) rallied to beat North Carolina last Thursday night for their first conference victory, but are off to their worst start since Bowden’s first season in 1976.

Since then he’s won two national championships, 12 ACC titles and 384 games, second all-time to Penn State’s Joe Paterno.

He’s earned the right to leave on his own terms, said Burnham, a Bowden assistant for nine years, his last coming during FSU’s national title-winning season of 1993.

“That’s just ridiculous that he’s had to go through that,” Burnham said. “He is to that institution what Tom Osborne is to Nebraska, what Darrel Royal is to Texas and what Bear Bryant is to Alabama. Let him call his own shot. He deserves that.

“You won’t find a better man that Bobby Bowden. He’s a Christian man, he’s a family man. It’s a shame, I think.”

Bowden’s contract gives him the option to return in 2010.

FSU defensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher has been chosen as Bowden’s successor. The coach already is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and has taken the Seminoles to 27 straight bowl games.

The program has fallen on hard times of late. FSU hasn’t won more than nine games in a season since 2003.

“The recruiting has really fallen behind, for whatever reason,” Burnham said. “Florida’s gotten so far ahead of all of (the state schools). They really have.”

There’s a chance Bowden’s 37th season as head coach will be his last. That may not be up to him, however.

 “We hope and pray that he sticks in there and does what he wants to do,” Burnham said. “If he wants to go, let him go. If he wants to coach another year, let him coach. He deserves it in my opinion.”

Cyclones on TV next week vs. OSU

October 26, 2009

Good news for Iowa State fans, next week’s home game against No. 13 Oklahoma State WILL be televised.

On what channel and when won’t be determined until Sunday. ABC is using the second of its three six-day selection windows for Nov. 7 Big 12 games.

ABC will decide among three games for its two telecast windows of 2:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.: Oklahoma State at ISU, Oklahoma at Nebraska or Kansas at Kansas State. The game not chosen by ABC will be picked up by Versus.

This week’s 2:30 p.m. game at Texas A&M is NOT being televised.

ISU-Nebraska: That’s a wrap

October 24, 2009

Iowa State overcame a lot to win today in Lincoln.

Its two best offensive players were out with injuries. Several Cyclones — many who were on the field for a lot of plays Saturday — were sick as dogs, including offensive guard Ben Lamaak, who had to battle behemoth Husker tackle Ndamukong Suh much of the day.

“We had fevers and guys missing practice throughout the week,” Coach Paul Rhoads said. “We had guys puking in buckets before the game, at the hotel, at halftime. I couldn’t be prouder of our football team.”

Knowing all that, what odds would you give ISU of beating Nebraska? 

Fifteen percent? Worse?

It was a great win, one that will resonate with fans, boosters, players, coaches and others for a long time. It was fun to see smiles on the faces of people like administrators Jamie Pollard and David Harris, who live and die with this team every week and so badly want a winner in Ames.

Players were downright giddy.

And now, they’ve got to put that behind them as a trip to Texas A&M looms next week with bowl eligibility on the line.

 Truthfully, I don’t think that will be a problem for this crew.

ISU offense is offensive so far

October 24, 2009

Iowa State’s offense not looking so hot with replacements Jerome Tiller and tailback Jeremiah Schwartz.  It could be a day full of three and out and face time for punter Mike Brandtner.

The Cyclones have been abysmal through one quarter. Here are the numbers:

12 plays, 19 yards

One penalty

One first down

Two pass attempts

Coaches clearly don’t trust Tiller to throw the ball, especially standing in the pocket. He’s rolled out on almost every play, usually with defenders right on his tail.

Bottom line, this one has the look of being incredibly, obscenly ugly.

Cyclone fans, take cover. Or just cover your eyes.

Live from Lincoln: A-Rob, Arnaud updates

October 24, 2009

Tailback Alexander Robinson is in street clothes and appears out for today’s game against Nebraska. Robinson played catch with quarterback Austen Arnaud during warm-ups.

His injured groin apparently is not healthy enough to give it a go.

Arnaud, meanwhile, is not going through his normal warm-up routine. He is not taking snaps with No. 1 center Reggie Stephens and did not throw very strong passes.

He clearly is favoring his right hand that got dinged last week against Baylor. There are rumors he has a broken bone in the hand. We’ll see what he and Coach Paul Rhoads have to say about that after the game.

I’d be surprised if he plays much from the way it’s looking now. Maybe as a runner. His warm up passes have been pretty awful so far.

Jerome Tiller, your table is ready. Jeremiah Schwartz can sit right next to you.

Mother: Staten still a Cyclone commit

October 22, 2009

Wesley Staten remains an Iowa State commitment – for now – the Sioux City point guard’s mother, Keesha Parker, said Thursday afternoon.

Parker said a Rivals.com report posted earlier Thursday that Staten has gone back on his November 2008 commitment to play at ISU was pre-mature.

“I’m disappointed in Wesley for doing this,” she said when reached at home. “It has not been officially done. It has been discussed. Wesley is still verbally committed to Iowa State.”

Staten, a 2012 recruit from Sioux City West H.S., told Rivals he was still considering ISU, but had de-committed.

“I called the coaches a couple days ago and told them I wanted to open it up and see some other schools,” said Staten, who averaged 18.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists last season as a freshman.

Parker said the family spoke with Cyclone assistant coach Daniyal Robinson earlier this week , but nothing was decided.

It was Staten’s AAU coach for the Iowa Barnstormers who told Rivals reporter Jerry Meyer that Staten was de-committing, Parker said.

Staten told Rivals that Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, USC, Kansas State, Arkansas and LSU have expressed interest in the 6-foot, 155-pound guard.

ISU’s is his only offer at this point, Parker said.

“He doesn’t really know which way to go,” she said. “There’s so many people tugging at him from out of our home. He has to remember who has his best interests at heart… I’d love to see him at Iowa State.”

Job is safe, but Mahoney better get straight

October 21, 2009

Grant Mahoney remains Iowa State’s starting place kicker.

And while Coach Paul Rhoads admitted — to no one’s surprise — that his field goal game was “suspect”, Mahoney is his guy going forward. The Cyclones play at Nebraska Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

“My confidence in him has not weakened,” Rhoads said. “If I get an opportunity to kick a 50-yard field goal against Nebraska Saturday morning, that’s what I am going to do. I’m going to call on him to go kick it and expect that he’ll hit it well.”

Mahoney missed three of four field-goal attempts last week against Baylor, including a 30- and a 35-yarder. He is 9 of 14 on the season. 

Those misfires came right after Mahoney failed on three consecutive PATs against Kansas State and Kansas. The sophmore from Marion made 47 straight to begin his career.

ISU beat Baylor comfortably, but would’ve liked Mahoney to made good on his tries.

He has a strong leg. Now it’s time he reclaim the accuracy he’s shown is in him.

“Those are points that are going to cost us and prohibit us from winning football games moving forward,” Rhoads said.

Arnaud, A-Rob expecting to play vs. Nebraska

October 19, 2009

Quarterback Austen Arnaud and tailback Alexander Robinson are expected to be ready for Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. game at Nebraska, the players said Monday.

Arnaud bruised his throwing hand four plays into last week’s 24-10 victory over Baylor after banging it on the helmet of a Bears defensive lineman following through on a pass.

He played the rest of the first half and one series after halftime before giving way to backup Jerome Tiller.

Arnaud did not practice Sunday but said he would play against the Huskers.

“No doubt,” he said.

Robinson’s status is not as clear cut. The junior tailback re-aggravated his strained groin muscle in the third quarter against Baylor and did not return.

He arrived Monday in front of reporters walking with a limp. ISU coaches and trainers won’t get a feel for how effective Robinson can play until late in the week.

When asked if he’ll play Saturday he said emphatically, “Yes.”

“I’m sore but it’s getting better,” Robinson said. “We are going to take it day by day and I’m going to keep thinking positively.”