Most Painful Losses, 2000-2009 (Part 5)

It’s over.  It’s finally over.  Our final five are revealed today, and over the weekend we can start debating over some WINS.  Thank God, my co-workers were beginning to wonder why I was coming into work looking like I’d been up crying all night and reeking of booze and anguish.

If you want to re-live the horror, you can go read #25-#21#20-#16, #15-#11, and #10-#6.*

*Caution:  Reading all these losses in one sitting may cause depression, alcoholism, an urge to cut yourself, and general misery.  Heartbreaking losses are to be remembered only in moderation.

WRNL would like to thank the Murph and Andy Show on KXNO for the opportunity to discuss this list on the air yesterday. You can listen to the podcast here.  And yes, I am still alive.  Hammered, but alive.

5.)  “Connecticut Choke” – Connecticut 37, ISU 20 – November 23, 2002

At least ISU fans can take solice in knowing Dan Orlovsky had to play for the Lions

After falling from a 6-1 start to 7-5 on the year, ISU had one final non-conference game to close out the regular season – a home stand against UConn, who, in their third year in Division I, had never won a game against a BCS opponent, but had reeled off 3 straight wins.  UConn came out firing, gaining a 10-0 advantage in the 1st quarter.  The 2nd quarter was all ISU, as they regained the lead with 13 straight points to go into the break at 13-10, and extended their lead to 20-10 in the 3rd quarter.  From there, it was all Connecticut.  Led by Dan Orlovsky, they scored 27 unanswered points while picking off Wallace 3 more times to take the victory, 37-20 and finish 6-6 on the year.   The loss cost ISU a berth in the Tangerine Bowl in sunny Orlando, Florida against Clemson, relegating them to the Humanitarian Bowl and a date with Boise State (see #14).

4.) “Wide Right I” – Alabama 14, ISU 13 – December 27, 2001

One year after ISU’s first ever bowl win, they reached the postseason again, behind the arm (and legs) of Seneca Wallace and the legs of Ennis Haywood.  The opponent was an Alabama squad behind first-year head coach Dennis Franchione, in the Independence Bowl.  ISU would dominate the game, outgaining Alabama 456 to 269, but a costly turnover and (once again) the kicking game would prove to be their undoing.  ISU went up 10-0, which was cut to 10-7 just before the half, when a 25-yard Tony Yelk field goal went WIDE RIGHT just before halftime.  Yelk would connect in the 3rd quarter to make it 13-7, but missed again on a 40-yarder early in the 4th.  Alabama would block one of Yelk’s punts to get a short field, which they capitalized on for a 14-13 lead with 4:44 to go.  ISU would drive the field, and Yelk had one final shot at a 47-yarder to win it.

It sailed over the right upright, and was called a miss.  To this day, Dan McCarney, and even Alabama fans, think the kick was good.

Games on this list lost by the kicking game:  7

3.) “Wide Right II” – Florida State 38, ISU 31 – August 25, 2002

He was in.

Ask any Cyclone fan about this game, and you’ll hear those words.

It could have been ISU’s biggest win this decade.  #3 Florida State came to Kansas City to play Iowa State on a “neutral” field that was decidedly favoring the team from the Midwest.  The start of the game, however, was all FSU.  They opened  up a 31-7 lead when Seneca Wallace decided enough was enough and FSU seemingly took their foot off the gas.  ISU drove 70 yards down the field to bring the score to 31-14 at the half.  The 3rd quarter was relatively quiet, with a single Benike field goal to bring the score to 31-17.  Atif Austin picked off Chris Rix and Wallace finished the drive with a 1-yard run to bring the score to 31-24.  FSU and ISU traded touchdowns to bring it to 38-31, and ISU had one final chance to tie it up, driving the field and getting down to the FSU 21.  Then:

ISU had one more chance with 4 seconds left, but Wallace was stuffed on a option run (there’s that goddamn option again) and FSU walked out with the win.

2.) “Wide Right III” – Missouri 17, ISU 14 (OT) – November 27, 2004

You know it’s bad when ESPN lists a game as the 38th most painful CFB loss of ALL TIME.  ISU needed a win at home against a 4-6 Missouri team with nothing to play for to clinch an outright Big XII North title and a shot at Oklahoma in Kansas City.  On a cold, windy day, a defensive slugfest ensued.  Missouri struck first with a 96-yard drive in the 2nd quarter capped by a 5-yard Marcus Woods TD run.  ISU responded the very next possession with a 13-yard Bret Meyer scamper for a score, and the game went to halftime tied 7-7.  In the 3rd, Missouri QB Brad Smith squirted free and scored on a 36-yard run.  As the 4th quarter rolled on, ISU got a shot at a short field when a Missouri punt went sideways, and Stevie Hicks punched it in to tie the score 14-14.  Deep in the 4th, Missouri was driving at the ISU 32 when Steve Paris scooped up a fumble and returned it 53 yards to the Mizzou 15 with 1:45 to go.

Then, McCarney-ball struck.

ISU ran Stevie Hicks 3 straight plays, giving ISU a 4th-and-2 at the Mizzou 7, and Bret Culbertson trotted out to attempt a 24-yard field goal for the win.  The kick went up, and…SLICE…straight right.  WIDE RIGHT.  Overtime.

Mizzou had first crack, and had a 4th-and-2 at the ISU 7, where Adam Crossett trotted out to attempt a 24-yard field goal, the FIRST of his college career.  Dead on.  17-14.

ISU had their shot, and on their first play, Ben Barkema was wide open at the Mizzou 7, but Meyer’s pass drifted behind him and Barkema couldn’t hold on.  ISU still made it to the Mizzou 3.

First down:  Hicks up the middle, no gain.

Second down:  Hicks on the option, loss of 3

Third down:  Meyer flings a fade to Jon Davis in the end zone, which seems like it hangs up forever….and…

Intercepted.  Game over.

There are no words.

Games on this list lost by the kicking game: 8

1.) “Wide Right IV” – Kansas 24, ISU 21 (OT) – November 26, 2005

364 days later. Same situation. Win for a opportunity (to probably be slaughtered by) Vince Young and undefeated Texas for the Big XII title. It happened again. I’m just going to let YouTube tell this one for me.  I need a beer or twelve.

Colorado wound up going to the title game (again) where they were butchered 70-3. Texas went on to Pasadena to win one of the greatest games of all time. Could ISU have won? Probably not. Let’s not kid ourselves, USC and Texas were on a whole other level from EVERYONE else that year, but anything can happen in the Big XII title game – ask KSU, they’ll back me up on this one. It was the heartbreaking loss to put a flourish on a season of heartbreaking losses (all 5 in the top 10 – 4 plays were the difference between 7-4 and 11-0). The thought of what could of happened, combined with the complete deja vu, makes the 2005 KU game our #1.
Games on this list lost by the kicking game: 9

Thanks for riding along, and I’m sorry.  Tune in next week for ISU’s 25 sweetest wins (may or may not be riot-worthy, although the top 10 certainly are).  Same bat time, same bat channel.  Drink a few beers, and have a good weekend.


12 Responses to Most Painful Losses, 2000-2009 (Part 5)

  1. cyssormetimbers says:

    seneca was in, no doubt about it.

    I better just go ahead and tell my wife to hide the sharps today.

  2. psychlone99 says:

    Ugh. That was hard to read/watch. There is a level of disappointment associated with some of those losses that will never go away. Definitely going to need to see the sweetest wins to avoid entering the 2010 season in a state of depression.

  3. ThatGuy says:

    i was at the game in KC. Got my first MIP while there. was also hanging over the sideline yelling at Peter Boulware, “you know he was in” as he walked up the tunnel. He gave me a look that made me cry.
    KU rushed the field after that game. That is how bad there football program is/was. The rushed the field after defeating Iowa State bc they were eligible for the Fort Worth Bowl.

  4. The Miz says:

    Well I’m glad the bad and ugly are over with…bring on the most riot worthy!!

  5. I am a Cyentist says:

    Damn, 2002 was just a collapse of unprecedented proportions. I mean, the 1906 SF earthquake & Tacoma Narrows bridge were pretty bad, but a 6-1 team going 1-6 in the second half of the season? Terrible.

  6. Lightspeed says:

    You guys need to start a podcast to go along with this site. I’d listen.

  7. b1gfckr says:

    I want to kill myself now, but first I’m going to drink heavily

  8. Diggame says:

    These here were the most painful to look at….

  9. fatkid1974 says:

    I had a sick feeling in my stomach about that kansas game since kickoff. Game never had any good vibes. To hell with alcohol, I’m going to the medicine cabinet.

  10. tx_chica says:

    Wow…I just read all of these in one sitting and I wanna kill myself.
    Here, this will make you feel better….

    This clip still makes me sick.

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