Paul Rhoads is leading his team to the turf. This image capturing is in Ames, Iowa on Dec. 31, 1999.
Lock down the ladies and the little ones.
A decisive game is blowing into Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa this Saturday afternoon.
The Iowa State Cyclones will host the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
I’m picking the Cyclones, and I’ll tell you why in a few ticks of the clock.
With a win, ISU (5—4, 3—2) could force a 3-way tie for first place in the Big 12 North.
Missouri (7—1, 3—1) would have to lose to Texas Tech in Lubbock.
The Huskers are travelling from Star City into strengthening winds that will be coming off the Skunk River in Ames.
If they can win, then Nebraska (7—1, 3—1) will fortify its hold on 1st.
They have Kansas, Texas A&M and Colorado left.
Nebraska performing well against ISU, it seems to me, determines if winning the division is in the Huskers’ hands.
If they go out by winning their remaining contests, then they are in the Big 12 Championship Game.
If they lose, then they risk downing their momentum.
I realize this next game could be a lopsided loss for ISU.
Nebraska scores more, rushes for more yards, passes for more yards and stops people from gaining more yards.
The only category Iowa State leads Nebraska in is punting.
Iowa State can kick their behinds off; they have the No. 1 punting unit in the Big 12.
So how can any analyst, in his right mind, be picking ISU to win this game?
It’s simple: I’m not in my right mind. I trust the dangerous winds to prevail.
Believing Iowa State can beat Nebraska on sheer will and determination is ludicrous.
But, that’s what they were saying last year, and I sound like Boo-Boo the Fool.
That’s what you say. I have a Cyclone in the hole.
When it comes to turnover margin, they are the Big 12’s No. 1 team. And, they are not too shabby in red zone defense; they rank at No. 5.
Like Missouri and Nebraska, these two programs have a long history.
Their original meeting was in 1896. It was a 12-4 Nebraska victory.
Last season, ISU ended up beating Nebraska 9-7 in Lincoln.
Paul Rhoads took pride in becoming the 1st ISU rookie coach to win 5 games.
“This (Nebraska) is a program that has as much tradition as anybody in college football,” he said. “It’s a big win.”
Do not think for one second that he has not told his team that they can do it again.
The five Cornhuskers fumbles lost in last year’s game are still missing, including the one on the game’s initial play.
ISU only won three Big 12 games last year.
Their other two came (1) at Homecoming against Baylor and (2) against Colorado in Ames.
The three interceptions thrown, last year, did Nebraska dirty against ISU.
I don’t expect Taylor Martinez to throw three interceptions, but he could.
In fact, he may be hampered by his bone bruise. He may not be able to go at all.
I hear the drum rolling for Nebraska’s I-backs.
Today they are not called I-backs, except by Tom Osborne. But, the I-backs will be asked to destroy the Cyclones.
However, the home crowd could boost the Cyclones enough to cause fumbles.
ISU has three tacklers in the Big 12’s top 10, and I’m sure they’re focusing on Roy Helu Jr.
If they allow Helu to go scampering across Ames, like he did in Lincoln, then it’s a wrap.
He is coming off a very superlative performance against Mizzou.
In his sleep, the young man is probably still seeing visions of him getting loose for a Nebraska record-setting 307.
He’ll remember than number. Buy a lottery ticket, Roy, and use those numbers.
Watch out for the NCAA, though.
Seriously, when I was researching the names of Nebraska rushers, a lot of legendary names were popping up.
Individuals like Tommy Frazier, Jarvis Redwine, Lawrence Phillips, Tony Davis, Mike Rozier, Ahman Green, I.M. Hipp and Roger Craig.
The list is going way back to 1892. The term I-back was Nebraska.
Taylor Martinez and Roy Helu Jr. are leading today’s ground game.
I don’t believe Helu can do what he did last week against Iowa State.
ISU will shock the BCS world, I believe.
The Cyclones have Colorado and then Missouri left on their schedule.
Texas’ mortifying defeat of the Huskers, earlier this season, seems to have set Nebraska off.
Since then, they have been seen beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater and flogging Mizzou in Lincoln.
An upset could happen this year. I guess you’ll have to watch the game to find out.
Set for a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff, ABC will broadcast it.
Meanwhile, I’ll let you know who will win.
Due to their red zone defense, and their ability to force turnovers, especially against Big Red, I forecast the following:
Prediction: Ames, Iowa will be celebrating an upset win: 26-24.