Don’t look now, but it’s time for another of those Big Games about which people take their enthusiasm quotient up a few notches.
From water coolers and beyond this week, Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. Iowa State-Iowa football game at Kinnick Stadium will elicit more rhetoric than politics, to which some might offer a “thank goodness.”
Move over, Barack and Mitt (alphabetical order). Make room for the real players this week, all of whom recall what happened during last season’s 44-41, triple-overtime thriller won by the Cyclones in Ames.
“You can’t forget something like that,” Hawkeye cornerback Greg Castillo said. “It’s a rivalry game. You always remember rivalry games.”
The bottom line is that James White ran 4 yards for the winning touchdown after Mike Meyer’s 34-yard field goal gave Iowa a lead on the final overtime’s first possession.
“That was quick,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads responded when asked about Saturday’s game. “You’re on top of it.”
He was requested to look ahead shortly after his team beat Tulsa 38-23 in last Saturday’s season-opener at Jack Trice Stadium.
Rhoads was prepared to discuss Steele Jantz’s 281 yards passing and Shontrelle Johnson’s 120 rushing yards against the Hurricanes. But he wasn’t quite yet ready to peek ahead to the state’s bragging rights game.
That was the seemingly scripted response of Cyclones players, too, after winning their opening game.
“Not going to talk about that right now,” said receiver Chris Young. “We’re just going to enjoy this win and start preparing for those guys on Tuesday.”
Castillo has been mentally preparing for a while. The way he figures, he might have cost his team the game.
“I gave up two touchdowns, that’s what I remember,” Castillo said. “I’ve watched the film of that game a lot. I’ve probably watched it too many times.
“What I see each time I watch it is that it was me out there who gave up those touchdowns. It wasn’t anybody else.”
That game ended up being his final 2011 starting assignment.
“I stayed positive,” Castillo said.
He didn’t mind dwelling the errors he claims to have made the last time he tried to defend an Iowa State receiver. He didn’t mind talking about how he helped set up last Saturday’s winning touchdown by keeping a John Wienke punt from going into the end zone late in the fourth quarter, either.
That heads-up play resulted in Northern Illinois starting a three-and-out drive at its 1-yard line. Damon Bullock responded with a game-winning 23-yard touchdown scamper just more than a minute later.
“If that ball had rolled into the end zone, this could have been a different kind of interview,” Iowa linebacker James Morris said.
But Iowa State?
“We’ll have a plan,” Morris said. “We’ll know that plan when we return to the practice field on Tuesday.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football