IOWA STATE – JACK TRICE STADIUM

Central Iowa is home to the beautiful state capitol, fields of corn, and Iowa State University. The surroundings along the twenty mile drive north of Des Moines offer little suggestion that college campus life lies just ahead. When cutting off toward Iowa State, it isn’t long before a stadium jumps into view. The campus is a few football tosses away. Lincoln Way is the main drag with the Campus Bookstore and several quaint hangouts. On gameday, parking lots are full and tailgating is in full force right from the highway exit. The party starts early as a flurry of activity permeates the perimeter of Jack Trice Stadium from first class tailgating to the team walk that attracts fans, the band, and Cy the Cyclone mascot.  The band scurries over to the Alumni Center to perform their Step Show – the fight song, chants, and cheerleaders continue the festivities as fans anticipate kickoff.

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Game 236: #3 TCU @ Iowa State

No matter how much a team is struggling, it’s tremendous to see how much a visit from a top 5 team can ignite fan support. Jack Trice Stadium’s surroundings filled with anticipation for what Cyclone fans would hope could be an upset. Of course, history wasn’t exactly on its side as Iowa State’s record against top 5 teams rests at 1-54-2. Nevertheless, the chance is enough to generate optimism.

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Game 182 – Marshall @ #24 West Virginia

West Virginia football had lost some of it’s spark over the past couple years. Former coach, Rich Rodriguez had lofted expectations in Morgantown and the hope was that new coach and offensive wizard, Dana Holgorsen, would put the Mountaineers back in the spotlight. The Marshall game was his debut and the West Virginia offense opened with a three and out followed by an 87 yard punt return TD by Marshall. It didn’t exactly showcase the fruits of his labor. But highly touted Geno Smith quarterbacked his way back into the hearts of mountaineer fans as he led his team on several scoring drives.

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Game 179 – #5 Wisconsin vs. #3 Texas Christian (2011 Rose Bowl)

Both Wisconsin and TCU had magical seasons that led them to a unique Rose Bowl matchup on New Year’s Day.  Our trip to Pasadena turned out to be less than magical.  We left on New Year’s Eve ready to connect in Kansas City, then Phoenix, then Long Beach en route to Los Angeles.  Unfortunately, our flight from Chicago was delayed and upon arriving Kansas City, our connect to Phoenix was gone.  Panic stricken, we found ourselves in a deserted airport seemingly destined to ring in the New Year 2,000 miles from the Rose Bowl.

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