Before the season started we assembled a list of 10 attainable goals for Cyclone football in 2009. We thought it would be fun to take a look back and see how many of the goals were achieved. The Cyclones ended up achieving 6 of the 10 goals with near misses on the other four. We also need to recognize the team for two bonus achievements that were accomplished with the win at Nebraska.
It was a great year for Paul Rhoads, his coaching staff and all of the Cyclones players. The main goal was to WIN A BOWL GAME and they did it. Congratulations on a great season!!
1. Stop the 10 game losing streak – The Cyclones haven’t won a game since Sept. 6, 2008 when they beat Kent State by the score of 48-28. The streak should end against North Dakota State in the season opener. (Best bets to break the streak: 9/3 North Dakota State, 9/12 Iowa, 9/19 Kent State, 9/26 Army)
Goal Achieved – Iowa State defeated North Dakota State 34-17 in the season opener.
2. Stop the 9 game conference losing streak – The last conference win for Iowa State was against Colorado at the end of the 2007 season. The Cyclones should have a good opportunity to win the first conference game against Kansas State at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on October 3rd. (Best bets to break the streak: 10/3 Kansas State, 10/17 Baylor, 10/31 Texas A&M)
Goal Achieved – Iowa State defeated Baylor 24-10 in the third Big 12 conference game.
3. Win the neutral field game – We feel the game against Kansas State is the most important game of the season. If ISU has any hopes for a bowl, this game is a must win. Cyclone fans need to go to KC to support the team, a winning streak leading in to this game would certainly help encourage fans to make the trip.
Goal Missed- Iowa State dropped the game to Kansas State 24-23 when Grant Mahoney’s extra point was blocked with 32 seconds left in the game.
4. Stop the 17 game road losing streak – We need to put an end to this statement…..”Iowa State has the longest road losing streak in the country.” The best opportunity to stop the bleeding is at Kent State on September 19th. If the Clones don’t get it done in Kent, Ohio it could be another tough year on the road. (Best bets to break the streak: 9/19 Kent State, 10/31 Texas A&M, 11/21 Missouri) note: Iowa State’s last road win came against Texas A&M in 2005 (42-14)
Goal Achieved – Iowa State put an end to the dreaded road losing streak in their first opportunity with a 34-14 victory at Kent State.
*Bonus* – The Cyclones also ended the 14 game Big 12 conference road losing streak with a 9-7 win at Nebraska, it was the first win in Lincoln since 1977.
5. Beat a ranked opponent – We almost decided this goal should be, Beat a ranked opponent besides Iowa. Why?…fora couple reasons. 1. Iowa State has shown the ability to beat ranked Iowa teams in the past. 2. We aren’t too sure that Iowa will be a ranked team at the end of the year. The Cyclones will likely have the opportunity to knock off four ranked opponents this year. (Chances for a win against a ranked opponent: 9/12 Iowa, 10/10 at Kansas, 10/24 at Nebraska, 11/7 Oklahoma State)
Goal Missed- Iowa State had a good opportunity to defeat #16 Kansas, but Austen Arnaud’s game winning pass sailed just over the outstretched arms of Darius Darks who was running wide open in the end zone. The Cyclones dropped the game 36-31.
*Bonus* – When Iowa State defeated Nebraska they were out of the top 25, but the Cornhuskers finished the season as the #14 team in the nation.
6. Sweep the non conference games – Iowa State needs confidence, probably more than any team in America. Winning the first four games would go a long way to getting some swagger back. The schedule sets up nicely for a run at the beginning of the season. The most likely stumbling blocks are at home to Iowa and on the road at Kent State.
Goal Missed – The Cyclones won 3 out of 4 games with the only loss coming to #7 Iowa.
7. Go .500 in the conference – Winning 50% of your conference games seems like a strange goal, but for a team that lost all of their conference games last year, winning 4 conference games would be HUGE. Winning 4 of these 5 games is the most likely scenario (Kansas State, Baylor, at Texas A&M, Colorado, at Missouri).
Goal Missed- The Cyclones went 3-5 in the conference with wins over Baylor, Nebraska and Colorado. The three wins was a big improvement over zero wins in 2008.
8. Protect the home field – If the Cyclones win every game at home they will be bowl eligible. At a minimum Iowa State should win 4 of the 6 games at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State fans can play a huge role in achieving this goal. Pack the Jack. (Most likely way to get to four wins at home (wins in bold): North Dakota State, Iowa, Army, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Colorado)
Goal Achieved – Iowa State won the four games we predicted they would above for a 4-2 record at home.
9. Win 6 games and become bowl eligible – Iowa State hasn’t went bowling since the heartbreaking 2005 season. It doesn’t take much to get to a bowl game these days, win 50% of your games and you are in. Most experts don’t like the Cyclones chances at a bowl game this year, but we see 9 winnable games on the schedule. A bowl game may be stretch, but definitely not impossible. (9 winnable games: North Dakota State, Iowa, at Kent State, Army, Kansas State, Baylor, at Texas A&M, Colorado, at Missouri)
Goal Achieved – The Cyclones won the six games it takes to get bowl eligible, but they got it done in a way that most wouldn’t have predicted. When Iowa State lost to K-State at Arrowhead, a bowl game seemed like a long shot. The Cyclones got that needed victory back when they went on the road and upset Nebraska without Arnaud and Robinson in the lineup.
10. Win a bowl game – If you watched the Cyclone preseason special on FSN you learned two things. 1. FSN knows absolutely nothing about Iowa State 2. Iowa State’s main goal is to WIN A BOWL GAME this year. Iowa State’s last bowl victory was in 2004 over Miami University. A bowl victory would be a giant step in the right direction for this football program.
Goal Achieved – In his first meeting with the team Paul Rhoads told the team that he was proud to be their coach and they would prepare diligently to WIN A BOWL GAME. The Cyclones achieved this goal when they defeated Minnesota 14-13 in the Insight Bowl in Phoenix.