Lightning delays. Player suspensions.
A soiled opening for an Iowa State season with expectations as high as any in recent memory?
Absolutely — and that was before the game was halted just 4 minutes and 5 seconds after it started. No contest, we were told. The game won’t be continued. Kaput.
Athletics director Jamie Pollard said he’ll scan the list of FCS teams that need a game. If he finds someone with an Oct. 20 opening — which is ISU’s bye Saturday — then it’s game on.
The Cyclones need six wins to be bowl-eligible. A victory against an FCS team might be needed — or as Pollard told us:
“We’ll have ample time to try and schedule somebody else. If we can’t find somebody and if we’re in a position that we needed a sixth win for a bowl game, then we always have the ability to play on championship weekend.”
But what about the seven suspended players; three of whom were suspended just one game?
Those three — starting left tackle Julian Good-Jones, starting safety De’Monte Ruth and reserve defensive lineman Kamilo Tongamoa — will be eligible next Saturday for Cy-Hawk.
For them, Saturday’s nongame counted as a game. That was the determination after Pollard spoke with university President Wendy Wintersteen and faculty-rep Tim Day.
“We’re all in agreement that the suspensions were served (Saturday), because it’s not the student-athletes’ fault that the game couldn’t (be played),” Pollard said.
I know some people might not agree, but Jamie’s right — it wasn’t their fault Mother Nature forced the cancellation of a game Iowa State led 7-0.
But seven suspensions for Week One?
That’s not a good look, no matter how you cut it. As someone snippily said:
At least they stayed dry.
The other sour moment on what — I repeat — is the most anticipated Iowa State football season in a while was the weather. Campbell calls the plays — like Kyle Kempt and Deshaunte Jones hooking up on a 55-yard pass-and-long run touchdown that won’t count in the official statistics — but he can’t control the weather.
A Storm was Brewing all right, although it’s not exactly the kind of PR slogan the Cyclones had in mind.
In 46 years at the Des Moines Register, Saturday was a personal first.
Just about the time I was going to write that there was more drama before Saturday night’s Iowa State-South Dakota State season-opening football game…
Along came that storm that’d been predicted all day. First rain. Then lightning. Then a long delay in which players went to locker rooms and then the cancellation.
Oh, what a night.
Oh-and-Oh heading into the most anticipated Cy-Hawk game ever?
You can decide that one, but it’ll be a dandy, that’s for sure, and by then, the Cyclones will have more players available than they did Saturday night against the Jacks.
I can’t recall the last time Iowa State had as many player suspensions in one game as it had in Game One of the 2018 season at Jack Trice Stadium — or anywhere else the Cyclones opened a season.
Gracious, that seems like a lot — and it was, considering two were starters, one was a reserve defensive linemen, and four were true freshmen.
The most glaring was Good-Jones, the team’s top offensive lineman.
He was expected to start at left tackle. His string of 24 starts ended, however, because we were informed he broke a team rule — and get this: His steak started after being suspended from the opening game of the 2016 season.
Just think if he hadn’t broken a team rule back then. Just think if he headed into next Saturday’s game at Kinnick as a starter in every game. He won’t, though.
Two suspensions on the muscular guy from Cedar Rapids’ resume — and he’s got the rest of this season and all his senior season yet to play.
To recap: Tongamoa was suspended one game after January OWI.
Ruth was suspended one game after Thursday’s arrest for driving without a license. And why he didn’t dial up Uber or catch a ride with a teammate or hop on-campus transportation — there’s got to be something more to this story that I don’t know.
Good-Jones suspended one game for a violation of team rules.
Four freshmen — Joseph Scates, Tayvonn Kyle, Jaeveyon Morton and Dallas Taylor-Cortez — were suspended indefinitely for what Campbell called a pattern of poor decisions.
You’d think the three nonfreshmen would get it — that Campbell isn’t messing around when he talks about not letting teammates down by doing something against the rules…
Speaking of true freshmen:
As suspected, Mike Rose started at middle linebacker, replacing Joel Lanning — and I hear Lanning was even at the game a day or so after getting cut by the Dallas Cowboys.
Rose was the first true freshman to start on an Iowa State defense in a season-opening game since Rashawn Parker did at defensive end in 2006. Rose even had a tackle on South Dakota State’s second play of the game.
Alas, neither officially happened Saturday.
Nothing shy about this guy, though.
“He’s a young bull and excited,” defensive tackle Ray Lima said last week. “He fits holes fast. He fit one hole really fast, and almost got me hurt, but I’m happy for him.
“It just shows his physicality.”
And now it’s Cy-Hawk.
And fingers are crossed for an official four-quarter game.