It has been 86 years since the former Iowa State College’s Johnny “Jack” Trice died, from injuries he suffered in a game at the University of Minnesota. The son of a former slave, Trice was the first African-American athlete to compete for what is now known as Iowa State University.
On the second play of his very first collegiate game, Trice broke his collarbone. After lobbying to continue on, he was later trampled by three Golden Gophers. Two days later, Trice died from hemorrhaged lungs and internal bleeding.
As a result of what Iowa State believed to be an intentional act of violence, the Cyclones didn’t renew their contract to play Minnesota. Sixty-six years passed before they finally faced each other again, in 1989. They met at Cyclone Stadium in Ames, Iowa; the Iowa State football stadium is now known as Jack Trice Stadium.
It has been 101 years since the Cyclones last defeated the Gophers. Minnesota leads the all-time series 22-2-1. They last met at the Metrodome in 1997; Minnesota won that contest by a score of 53-29.
On Dec. 31, the two teams will meet again. This time it is at the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.
The game could be called the Jack Trice Bowl.
This matchup figures to be much lower-scoring affair than the 1997 meeting. According to ESPN’s website, Iowa State currently has the 77th ranked offense in the FBS. Minnesota’s offense is 113th out of 120 teams.
These two squads have a lot in common.
Both bring a 6-6 record to Arizona. Each team has redshirt junior quarterbacks, who have yet to chalk up many wins. Neither team's head coach has won more than seven games in a season; Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads, is completing his first season, while Minnesota’s Tim Brewster is in his third year. Many feel Brewster’s job is in jeopardy at Minnesota.
This is Minnesota’s second consecutive season at the Insight Bowl. They have been there two of the last three years, losing both times. Iowa State’s last bowl game was in 2005.
While these Gophers have made a habit of losing during this time of year, they are planning to change those bad habits. But nobody knows how these Cyclone players will react in a December game.
One thing is for sure: The Cyclones are going to play their hearts out for Jack Trice.
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