Iowa State and Iowa both had chances to make their seasons feel better, but neither could come up with the big play at crunch time.
The Cyclones again looked better with Freshman Sam Richardson at quarterback. Like Kansas, West Virginia’s defense doesn’t scare anyone, but Richardson still made plays beyond his experience level.
When Jeff Woody fumbles near the goal line, it’s not Iowa State’s day. He’s a reliable back, and I’m sure it kills him he coughed it up as ISU was driving to tie (or win).
West Virginia’s Tavon Austin has a gear not seen at Jack Trice Stadium in a long time. Austin is the living embodiment of “speed kills”. Geno Smith should write a thank you note for getting credit for a 75 yard touchdown pass on that tap to Austin.
The Cyclones exceeded most expectations at 6-6. They’re going to a bowl game, but to a man, they all feel they could have done more. They should feel that way.
I think Paul Rhoads can get ISU to that next level, which right now would be five conference wins. Iowa State went 3-6 in the Big 12. I’m not sure how long it’s been since ISU had a winning conference record, and I ate too many leftovers at dinner to look it up, but I’m sure it’s been a while.
The Hawks also played their hearts out. Which is something we in the media, and fans on Twitter and Facebook often forget. No one is more devastated by losing than the players and coaches. It’s easy for us to snark and run, but they have to live it.
Iowa did what it could, but the offense is just too inept. James Vandenberg’s final pass as a Hawkeye was an interception. Good guy, bad year. He didn’t have much help in the huddle, or on a headset. The defense kept Iowa in it with an inspired effort against Nebraska.
Kirk Ferentz made nearly a million dollars per win. No one does the math when Iowa wins 10 games. Ferentz has earned the right to a bad season, and this one was bad, but I think fans are most concerned he doesn’t have answers. When Ferentz says in the post game news conference that’s he’s fine with everything, you know he’s not being candid, or he’s lost it. I’ll bet it’s the former.
Husker fan Erin Kiernan told me she was a Big Red popsicle at Kinnick. It was COLD. (Even colder at Jack Trice.) Contrary to rumors, Nebraska fans did not take over Kinnick Stadium. Hard to say a number. I’d guess 15-20%.
I end with an admission that doesn’t make me proud. We went to Wal-Mart on Black Friday and bought a doorbuster big screen HDTV. It was a great deal. I still type in shame.