Most Painful Losses, 2000-2009 (Part 4)

Almost there. Two days left until some happy days.  Three weeks to go until football season, that is, if Ames is above sea level by then. (And from all of us who no longer call Iowa our home – stay safe and dry. Our thoughts are with you.)

Enough sap for one article. Let’s get down to business.  This is getting more and more painful to put together.   Here you can find #25-#21#20-#16, and #15-#10

10.) “Houston Bowl” – TCU 27, ISU 24 – December 31, 2005

Few things hurt more then being beaten by a bunch of guys in purple.

Despite losing their shot at #2 Texas in the Big XII Championship game, ISU still had a chance to put a flourish on their 2005 campaign at Reliant Stadium in the Houston Bowl.  The opponent, the #14 TCU Horned Frogs, who sported a stingy defense, the nation’s best record of a non-BCS school and the MWC crown, but were passed over for a BCS bowl.  TCU took their frustrations out on ISU early, jumping out to a 14-0 lead in the 1st quarter.  ISU fired back with a 48-yard hookup of the Meyer-Blythe connection, followed up by a safety on a high punt snap and a strike from Meyer to Barkema and a 2-point conversion to bring the score to 17-14.  Nik Moser came up with a fumble recovery deep in TCU territory on the next series, but an interception on ISU’s first play nullified the opportunity.  ISU drove back into the red zone, but Meyer dribbled the ball off his thigh in the open field, causing a fumble that would make Niles Paul feel better about himself.   TCU regained the lead, 24-17, at halftime.

Meyer hooked up with Blythe again deep in the 3rd quarter to tie it at 24 all, and TCU had a chance to put it away when Meyer was intercepted in ISU territory, but Moser recovered a fumble in the end zone to save ISU’s bacon.  ISU couldn’t get the offense moving, and TCU’s Peter LoCoCo (best kicker name ever?) hit a go-ahead 44-yarder to go ahead with just over 5 minutes remaining.  ISU’s offense stalled, and TCU was able to grind out the clock for the win.

9.) “Coleman’s ‘Fumble'” – Baylor 23, ISU 13 – October 8, 2005

Coleman was in.

Baylor had never won a road game in the Big XII.

That is, until they came to Ames in 2005.

ISU was attempting to rebound from #8 on this list when the 3-1 Bears came into town.  Baylor opened up a 10-3 lead in the first quarter, but ISU scored 10 of their own on a 1-yard dive by Ryan Koch and a Culbertson field goal to gain a 13-10 lead at halftime.  Then, on ISU’s first possession of the 2nd half, it happened.

On 2nd and goal from the Baylor 3, Greg Coleman took a dive play into the endzone for a touchdown…or so everyone in Jack Trice thought.  Turns out Coleman fumbled on the 1-yard line (although to this day Cyclone fans swear he broke the plane).  Baylor drove the field to tie it up 13-13, and another field goal at the start of the 4th quarter put them up 16-13.  ISU would mount one final drive, but Coleman would fumble again at the Baylor 19.  Baylor drove the field for the clinching touchdown, and ISU went into the record books as Baylor’s first Big XII road win.

8.) “Double-OT Disaster” – Nebraska 27, ISU 20 (2OT) – October 1, 2005

So close to an epic win...

ISU came into Lincoln, Nebraska with a 3-0 record and a #23 ranking.  Nebraska was 3-0 with a stingy defense, but a sputtering West Coast offense under Bill Callahan.  For the first half, it was a defensive battle as the teams went 1 for 2 on field goals.  In the second half, the fireworks started.   After Bret Meyer threw an interception at the Nebraska 11, Zac Taylor dumped the ball off to Cory Ross for a 70-yard touchdown.  ISU responded with a strike from Meyer to Walter Nickel for a touchdown of their own, and Culbertson tacked on a field goal to make it 13-10.  Nebraska tied it up at 13, but was threatening at the ISU 10-yard line with 1:38 to go.  Taylor rolled to his right, but DeAndre Jackson forced him to fumble in the open field.

Then, Jackson did both the right AND the wrong thing.  With the ball dribbling towards the sideline, Jackson fell on it, eliminating any chance of a Nebraska field goal.  However, with nobody ahead of him, Jackson could have scooped it up and trotted to the end zone for the clinching score.  Instead, the game went to overtime.  ISU took only 2 plays to go up 20-13, and had another chance to win it when Taylor threw a pass right into the hands of Nick Leaders. He couldn’t hold on, and Nebraska found the end zone on a Cory Ross run to make it 20 all.  Ross found the endzone again off a Lee pass, and ISU’s offense couldn’t answer the call, with Meyer’s pass falling incomplete on 4th and 10.  If not for the win in Lincoln last season, this game would easily be in the top 5.

7.) “Fall from Grace” – October 19 – November 19, 2002

Heisman? Never mind...

It was the high water mark of ISU athletics.  6-1, ranked #9 in the nation, with the “Seneca for Heisman” campaign in full swing one week after “The Run”.  Cyclone fans were flying high, but over the next month, ISU would be brought back down to Earth.  The #2 Oklahoma Sooners “welcomed” ISU into Norman on a rainy October 19 and completely shut down the ISU offense, racking up a 35-0 halftime lead and holding ISU to a grand total of FOUR offensive yards in the first half.  All Heisman talk went down the tubes as Wallace was held to 4 for 22, for a total of 43 passing yards, 3 interceptions, and -28 yards rushing on 6 attempts.  The offense was so anemic it couldn’t even get in the endzone after recovering a fumble on the OU 1-yard line.

ISU dropped to #17, and headed to Austin to face the #7 Longhorns.  Unfortunately, Wallace was outshone by Cedric Benson, who ran for 199 yards and 2 TD’s as ISU lost a 10-7 halftime lead, but failed to capitalize on opportunities in a 21-10 loss. ISU pulled off a win at home again Missouri (more on that next week), but got blown out by #12 Kansas State 58-7 in Manhattan and edged by #17 Colorado 41-27 in Boulder, and the fall was almost complete.  Almost…

6.) “Down by Contact” – Missouri 27, ISU 24 (OT) – October 15, 2005

A week after the loss to Baylor (#9), ISU headed to Colombia to face the Tigers.  Mizzou went up 14-0 on two costly ISU turnovers, a Bret Meyer Pick-6 followed immediately by a fumble by Jason Harris returned 16 yards for a TD.  Ryan Koch slammed in from the 1 in the 2nd quarter to bring the score to 14-7, and a Culbertson field goal brought the score to 14-10 just before the half.

The 3rd quarter featured a flurry of turnovers, with a Brad Smith fumble at the ISU 32, a Ryan Koch fumble on the Mizzou 1, and a Nik Moser interception at the Mizzou 29 in consecutive drives.  Koch would get in the endzone twice more in the 4th quarter to bring the score to 24-14.  Then, with just under 9 minutes to go, Tim Dobbins rung Brad Smith’s bell, and Mizzou turned to this guy:

I hate you. Go eat another booger.

a highly-touted true freshman from Southlake, Texas named Chase Daniel.  On his first play, Daniel throws a 12-yard pass to Brad Ekwerekwu, but the ball squirted free, and ISU’s Steve Paris scooped it up and sprinted in to the endzone to bring the lead to 31-14.

NOT so fast, my friend.

Ekwerekwu was called “down by contact.”  The fumble was overturned, and Daniel would lead Mizzou 73 yards down the field before ISU’s defense stepped up and held Mizzou to a field goal.  Mizzou got the ball back with 2:32 left and 87 yards to the tying score.  Daniel led them on a determined march, scoring the tying TD with 0:20 to go, sending the game to the bane of ISU’s existence:  OVERTIME.

ISU had the first shot at the Mizzou defense, but a 43-yard Culbertson field goal went WIDE RIGHT, and Mizzou connected on a 26-yarder to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Games on this list lost by the kicking game:  6

Tomorrow:  #5 – #1


9 Responses to Most Painful Losses, 2000-2009 (Part 4)

  1. Swampfox says:


    At first I was mildy laughing at this list, after today I want to club a baby seal.

    and to think I had almost cleared 2005 from my memory.

    That’s the story of Dan McCarney teams, no killer instinct and no idea what to do with the lead. If Dan knew how to put the cleat to the throat, much of this list wouldn’t exist. We’d all have nice trips to San Antonio, San Diego, and maybe even Dallas under our belts, and we’d be laughing at the futility of Mizzou and KU football. (all while basking in the glow of a bowled end zone)

    Paul Rhoads shall bring us vengence!

    • I am a Cyentist says:

      Seriously. There have been some bad years of ISU football, but none hurt as bad as 2005. To come SO CLOSE to the Big XII North championship for the second year in a row, just to lose it in exactly the same way as the previous year? Fuuuuuuuccckk that.

  2. 3chris says:

    The 2005 losses sting extra bad for me, as I was at every…single…one. Mizzou and Nebraska were tough drives back to Ames…

    On a related note, fuck you Tony Yelk and Anthony Forrest; learn to knock the ball out the back of the damn endzone.

  3. CyForPres says:

    /Users/mardorfj/Desktop/LucyFootball copy.jpg

    Thought you might need this for tomorrow 😉

  4. Josey Wales says:


  5. fatkid1974 says:

    Wasn’t there a big play in the TCU game where officials ruled one of our players down when they put their hand down to gain balance back? Can’t remember who it was or the circumstances, but I thought it was at the time a momentum killer. I was pretty drunk during that game, as I was properly introducing my little brother on how to enjoy a Cyclone game.

    • I am a Cyentist says:

      I think it was Barkema, right? Some kind of weird play where he rolled over the defender, put his hand down to get his balance, and kept running. I don’t quite remember though, New Years Eve games are all kind of a blur.

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