Then the Cowboy defense loosened. Quinn Sharp barely missed what likely would have been the game-winning field goal. Brandon Weeden threw a crucial interception in the second overtime.
Finally, Iowa State's Jeff Woody plowed into the end zone for the winning score, sending the Cyclone fans into a frenzy as they stormed the field and belted out the words to “Sweet Caroline.”
Gundy said that loss haunts him the same as any other— from a philosophical and coaching standpoint. Which is why he doesn't anticipate any extra emotions when he walks on the Jack Trice Field Saturday.
Besides, much has changed with the OSU program since that night. There's been a revolving door at quarterback, the latest turn coming with last week's switch from J.W. Walsh back to Clint Chelf. OSU's identity has shifted from an offensive powerhouse to a defensive team that despite its struggles to score finds itself in the Big 12 title race.
Saturday's game won't heal the past. It's not a step on a national championship run. It can't serve as true revenge, as Iowa State remains a Big 12 bottom-feeder that is coming off a 71-7 thrashing at the hands of Baylor.
But the return to Ames will bring back memories. And receiver Tracy Moore hopes to create some better ones this time around.
“How bad their crowd talked to us, the ‘overrated' chants and everything,” Moore said. “It's all gonna come back to mind and it's just gonna make a victory much sweeter.
“I don't know if you can make what happened (two years ago) good. I think … I just want to blow them out, honestly.”