Culbertson 15-13: A Parable of Redemption

When I look back on it, I believe that Saturday was a nearly perfect day. There is perhaps only one more thing that would have made the day better. I got to spend the day in a series of social interactions with some of my favorite people in the world. Plus, Nebraska and Notre Dame were humiliated. Oh yeah, and we beat Iowa.

USC 49 Nebraska 31
Michigan 38 Notre Dame 0
Iowa State 15 Iowa 13

I don’t know if there is anybody out there that would describe me as being a romantic, but when I think of the glowing scoreboards hanging in those stadiums proudly displaying those scores I automatically think of a song. You might have heard it, the lyrics go something like this:

Some day, when I’m awfully low,
When the world is cold,
I will feel a glow just thinking of you…
And the way you look tonight.

Yes you’re lovely, with your smile so warm
And your cheeks so soft,
There is nothing for me but to love you,
And the way you look tonight.

With each word your tenderness grows,
Tearing my fear apart…
And that laugh that wrinkles your nose,
It touches my foolish heart.

Lovely … Never, ever change.
Keep that breathless charm.
Won’t you please arrange it?
‘Cause I love you … Just the way you look tonight.

I have so many things to say about the Iowa State-Iowa game from Saturday that I don’t even know where to begin.

Here are some quick observations:

A Ten Letter Word for Redemption?

I was not very excited when Chizik clearly started laying up for a field goal with a minute to go in the game. Culbertson has been a good kicker throughout his career, but he was nobody’s idea of clutch. He had missed two field goals that would have given the Cyclones North Division Titles. When Culbertson drilled that ball right between the uprights, all of that was forgiven. However, I have seen ISU miss so many field goals in similar situations over the years that even though that ball went right between the uprights, my mind saw him miss wide left. While everybody else in my section was celebrating, I wasn’t going to believe anything until I saw the refs hands go straight up in the air.

A Lucky Injury

Steve Johnson left the game in the second half. Steve Johnson had been playing a pretty good game, but when Chris Brown came in, he made one huge play after another. He rocked Young on a 3rd and 1 run up the middle that put Young down in the backfield for a loss of yardage. Then he broke up a huge third down pass that forced Iowa to settle for a field goal attempt. As big as Culbertson was in this game, don’t forget about Chris Brown and his contributions.

Shades of Billups

When Iowa State went to the Bowl a few years back, we had a stud running back recruit by the name of Billups. All he really did his freshman year was return punts. For 11 games I thought that this was the biggest waste of his talent. In my mind they should have clearly redshirted him so that he would have more years as a starting running back (of course in the end he would end up moving to safety where he did prove to be a stud) after Haywood had graduated. However, my reservations about his wasted freshman season were washed away when he took a Pittsburgh punt sixty-some yards for a TD to secure the first bowl victory in Cyclone history.

I felt that way about Bates’ freshman year. Why not redshirt a guy with that much talent if all he is going to do is be a 5th option receiver and run the occasional trick play? If he doesn’t make another play the rest of the season it was worth it to see him haul in that 38 yard reception that setup the game winning field goal.

Iowa Fans

I am a firm believer that there are two kinds of Iowa fans. Those that are intelligent, incisive, thoughtful, and well spoken. Then there are Iowa fans that are arrogant, ignorant, (once again it is always surprising how arrogance and ignorance are so tightly intertwined) brash, and Pavlovian. The first type of Iowa fan you can sit down and discuss things rationally. The second type of Iowa fan you really can’t do much with them. They are dreadfully un-self aware. Incapable of actual meaningful communication and can only utter the dumbest of comebacks or fathom any world where ISU has beaten them 7 out of 10 times. The surest way to know which type of Iowa fan you have is to check their walls for a degree from the University of Iowa. If they have one, they probably are a pretty good chap. If they don’t have one, then they probably are a rabid freakshow without a good grip on reality.

I believe the best entertainment in the world (relatively speaking) is listening to Soundoff! after Iowa has lost a game. However, this year I was a little bit disappointed. It seemed that only drum that Iowa fans have left to beat is there supposed and inaccurate supposition that “the game means more to Iowa State than it does to Iowa”. This excuse didn’t work when you got beat by a girl in dodgeball in the 4th grade. It doesn’t work now. If you guys didn’t want to win the game, over 30,000 of you wouldn’t have made the trip to Ames knowing full well that you couldn’t get into the game.

There is a third classification of Hawkeye fan. It is the Uncle Tom. The best example is my friend Mark, but I like to pretend that these fans don’t exist.


You know it is a rivalry when the fans were booing Iowa’s marching band so loudly during their pre-game show that I couldn’t even hear them playing and I sit really close to the field.

I can’t wait to see what kind of billboards Pollard puts up in “Hawkeye Country” next year.


I do have the pictures up now, but I made a couple of mistakes and I will have to change the gallery sometime in the next few days. Yes, there is a picture of the scoreboard with the final score on my computer and I will get it posted when I make the other corrections.