Leistikow's First Word: Hawkeyes win a Cy-Hawk classic that neither team deserved to lose

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

AMES, Ia. — In maybe the most epic Cy-Hawk showdown in series history, it got to the point where neither team deserved to lose.

And then it became clear: It would come down to one big play.

Iowa would make that play and, amazingly, win by the same exact score that it lost by in a 2011 classic here at Jack Trice Stadium: 44-41.

Nate Stanley hit true freshman Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a 5-yard touchdown pass in overtime, and snatched victory from the jaws of seemingly certain defeat.

Iowa senior running back Akrum Wadley (25) celebrates after a touchdown during the first half of their football game at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Ames.

And, hey, I'll say it: Maybe this rivalry should never go away.

The 2-0 Hawkeyes won this with offense, a week after dominating Wyoming with defense.

FOUR touchdown drives of 89 or more yards, including the one that forced overtime after it seemed Iowa was left for dead, down 31-21 in the fourth quarter.

My game ball goes to Brian Ferentz, whose play calls brought the Hawkeyes back.

Stanley, in his first road start, ended up throwing for five touchdown passes and had Iowa’s first 300-yard passing game since Jake Rudock in 2014.

The Hawkeyes showed a lot of grit in rallying, and this win helps gloss over a slew of mistakes all day long: Penalties, leaky defense, shaky punting among them.

Give Iowa State and coach Matt Campbell some credit on Saturday. He talked the talk leading up to this game, and the second-year Cyclone coach’s gutsy fourth-down calls kept his team a step ahead for much of the game.

But the Cy-Hawk trophy is staying in Iowa City. That’s all that matters.