Most Painful Losses, 2000-2009 (Part 2)

Come back for more, did you?  Yeah, we’re Cyclone fans.  You gotta be a little masochistic to be a Cyclone fan, or we would have gone extinct long ago.

If you’re just tuning in, this series is an ISU version of a weeklong feature last week on ESPN called “House of Pain: 50 Most Painful Losses in College Football History”.  As I mentioned yesterday, many Cyclone fans like me went, “Pfff. Iowa State could probably fill most of that list by ourselves”, and like an idiot, I had a few beers and tried to fill out my own list.  This series is the result of that “brilliant” drunken idea.  Once again, these losses were ranked by the following four categories:

-What was at stake?
-Who was the opponent?
-How was the game lost?
-How bad does it sting today?

Since I saw some of the initial reaction to this series, we’re doing this to exorcise our demons from the last decade.  Next week will be ISU’s sweetest victories of the last decade, and we’ll probably throw in some predictions for this year’s season.  Stay with us, and try not to die of alcohol poisoning.  We’re almost to kickoff.

You can find #25 – #21 here.

20.) “Sooner or later…” – Oklahoma 17, ISU 7 – October 20, 2007

A week after Texas walked into Ames and spanked ISU on Homecoming (see #25), #4 Oklahoma rolled into town for Family Weekend with a 6-1 record and a freshman phenom QB named Sam Bradford.  Nobody expected ISU to compete.  The Cyclones had other ideas, and this game proved to be the rally that followed the puke.  The ISU defense stood tall and Jason Scales provided a 2-yard score to put ISU up 7-0.  ISU had a couple shots to pad their lead in the 2nd quarter, but they went to waste when a field goal went wide right (get used to reading those words), as did an interception the following possession when Scales was stuffed on 4th-and-1 on the OU 9 yard line.  OU tied it up in the 3rd quarter and went ahead 14-7 in the 4th.  ISU had a chance to tie late in the 4th, but Meyer flung an ill-advised pass over the middle on 2nd-and-goal.  The pass was tipped and intercepted, and the atmosphere in Jack Trice deflated like an old balloon.  OU drove and kicked a field goal to put it away to move to an astonishing 0.919 winning percentage against ISU (over 75 games), which is the record holder for most lopsided series in college football history.

19.) “Cut on the Glass Bowl” – Toledo 36, ISU 35 – September 22, 2007

Thank God the "Glass Bowl" isn't actually glass. We would have broken it during the riot.

This one stings a little extra for me.  I drove my ass all the way out to Ohio expecting a win over a crappy MAC team, still high off the 15-13 victory over Iowa.  This game was tit-for-tat for three quarters, but J.J. Bass punched in a 1-yard TD run with 5:25 to go to put ISU up 35-24, and an exchange that I will never forget occurred between me and the Toledo fan in front of me.

*Guy in front of me* – “Well, congrats on the win…”

*Me* – “Oh, no.  There’s still 5:25 left.  I’m an Iowa State fan.  I know better to celebrate before the game’s over.”

God, I hate being right.  Toledo returned the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a TD to bring it to 35-30.  On the next possession, ISU went 3-and-out, and marched out the punt team.  Sensing a disturbance in the Force, no Cyclone fan was surprised when the snap sailed over Brantner’s head, and instead of throwing it out of the endzone for a safety, Toledo was able to fall on it in the endzone to go up 36-35.  ISU had one chance to win it at the end, but Culbertson’s field goal was blocked, giving Toledo the upset.

Games on this list lost by the kicking game:  1

18.) “Back to the Cellar” – The entire 2003 season

Welcome to Iowa State Football. You'll be needing this.

Based on the past few years of ISU football (three straight bowl appearances), there were still some decent expectations in Ames going into the 2003 campaign, despite losing several key players, most notably star QB Seneca Wallace, to be replaced by a RSFr. named Austin Flynn.   I think this year stings a little extra for me because it was my freshmen year at Iowa State.  Talk about bad timing.  The first two games provided a little hope, a 17-10 victory against UNI and a 48-20 tune-up against Ohio.  Unfortunately, that was the end of ISU’s offense, as it was all downhill from there.  #23 Iowa rolled into town behind future 1st-round pick Robert Gallery and snapped ISU’s 5-game win streak in the series with a 40-21 victory.  ISU would only break 20 points one more time in the season, as the Iowa loss was followed up by a 24-16 loss at #20 NIU, and 8 straight losses in conference by a combined score of 343-71, with losses by an average of 34 points (46 to #1 Oklahoma, 31 at Texas Tech, 21 to #20 Texas, 28 at #14 Nebraska, 45 to KSU, 34 to Colorado, 29 at Kansas, and 38 at Missouri).  Not even the incomparable Gene Chizik reached this level of futility.

17.) “That goddamn option…” – Colorado 28, ISU 24 – November 8, 2008

If there are two aspects of football that have caused ISU fans the most heartbreak, they would be:

-The field goal

-The option

2008 was shaping up to be another 2003.  ISU was 2-7 headed into one of ISU’s House of Horrors, Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado.  Fortunately, CU was looking equally horrible.  Twice CU decided it’d be better to get stoned than play football, allowing ISU to open up double-digit leads twice (10-0 at halftime, and 24-13 with 9 minutes to go) before sobering up and closing the gap.  This game, however, is always remembered for the final play.  CU took the lead with 90 seconds on the clock, but ISU marched 60 yards down the field (including converting a 4th-and-1 on the CU 5) before spiking the ball at the CU 1 with 0:03 on the clock.  With one play left, Chizik and McFarland pulled out that old nightmare from ISU’s past, and well, watch for yourself:

16.) “Flop at Folsom” – Colorado 19, ISU 14 – October 16, 2004

Mason Crosby 4, ISU 0

What a difference a kicking game makes.

ISU walked into Folsom at 2-3 on the year and in need of a win to get back on track.  CU was 3-2, but with games against A&M and Texas looming.   Colorado came out firing, scoring a TD early and letting Mason Crosby pad the lead with field goals of 28 and SIXTY yards (off the left upright, even) to go up 13-0.  Ellis Hobbs did what he could to get ISU back into the game, scoring on a Pick-6 from CU QB James Cox.  CU benched Cox for Joel Klatt, who was picked off twice himself in the second half.  Crosby added two more field goals in the second half, of 54 and 33 yards, before Bret Meyer hooked up with Todd Blythe to bring the score to 19-14, when CU ran out the clock.

The things that made this game especially devastating, however, was the red zone and special teams play.   ISU made 5 trips inside the CU 20 and came out with ZERO points, fumbling 3 times and two missed field goals (of 22 and 25 yards) by Brian Jansen.  ISU would go on a 4 game win streak before losing to Missouri (more on that later), but the head-to-head loss gave CU the spot in the Big XII Championship Game.

Games on this list lost by the kicking game:  2

Tomorrow:  #15-11

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18 Responses to Most Painful Losses, 2000-2009 (Part 2)

  1. ThatGuy says:

    my 100 dollar Crate and Barrell trash can that my wife bought with wedding money, “because it fits our kitchen well” still has a massive dent in it from the front kick it received after the “god damn option” in the Colorado game.
    Have to relive this every time somebody comes in and goes, “how did your trash can get that huge dent”

    • CanAzn says:

      The only problem I can find with that story is why anyone would pay 100 bucks for a trashcan.

      • cyssormetimbers says:

        I’m also a little concerned about this trash can. have you no dignity?

      • ThatGuy says:

        I wasn’t there. We do not speak of this in the household anymore. I should no better than letting her go to Crate and Barell on her own. To be fair I own 7 baseball gloves.

  2. cyssormetimbers says:

    seriously. that option was one of the worst things i’ve ever seen. the fucking option, from the 2?

  3. I am a Cyentist says:

    Holy shit, 2003 was bad. I should have known better than to get my hopes up after 2000-2002, but I actually thought McCarney might be the answer to ISU’s football problems. 2003 set me straight.

    It wasn’t just football, though they sucked. Eustachy made his infamous Mizzou trip that year, and Pete Taylor died. After a few years of actual, legitimate success, the Iowa State athletics just crashed into the goddamn mountain.

  4. Swampfox says:

    Damnit Brian Jansen! You will forever be listed as an epic douche in my book.

    • fatkid1974 says:

      I had just forgot who Brian Jansen was, Damn you all to hell!!

    • ThatGuy says:

      Brian Jansen went to my high school in Overland Park. His dad was my soccer coach. Epic Deucsher.

      • CanAzn says:

        Does anyone know what the hell he’s doing these days? You should ask his dad.

      • ThatGuy says:

        I know he ended up at KU, so he would fit in with the other elitist fucks, with there sense of superiority. I do know where his parents live, if anybody wants to teepee their house about 8 years to late.

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