James Morris was involved in the last tackle of the game, and in no position to race across the Jack Trice Stadium turf and take possession of the Cy-Hawk Trophy.
But Iowa’s senior captain eventually got his hands on it and carried it off the field to the Hawkeye locker room after the 27-21 victory.
“It was heavy,” Morris said. “But it felt good.”
This is the first time Iowa has laid claim to the new version of the trophy, which replaced the original model in 2012.
For Morris, Saturday’s victory gave him a 2-2 record against the Cyclones.
“Feels good,” Morris said. “I’d like to have won them all. I’m sure they would say the same thing. At least I can walk away and say they didn’t get the best of us.”
Morris turned in one of the best plays of his career late in the first half, batting a Sam Richardson pass into the air, juggling the ball for a moment and then pulling it in for an interception. He then rambled 27 yards to the Iowa State 25.
“I thought I was going to score,” said Morris, who earned all-state honors at Solon as a linebacker and running back. “The play was kind of a blur, almost in slow motion.”
His pick resulted in Mike Meyer’s 38-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the first half.
It was the third straight game where an Iowa defender made a big play. Christian Kirksey forced a fumble and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown against Northern Illinois. Last week, Tanner Miller had a clinching fourth-quarter interception in the end zone against Missouri State.
On Saturday, it was Morris, who also had an interception against Iowa State last season and now has three for his career.
“(Saturday), it was his turn,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It was an outstanding play.”