STILLWATER — Mike Gundy did not know how to react when thousands of Iowa State fans were suddenly storming the field at Jack Trice Stadium after Jeff Woody scored the game-winning touchdown to knock off then-No. 2 Oklahoma State in double overtime.
The fans came from all angles. They gathered near the end zone where the winning touchdown was scored. They sang along with Neil Diamond's song “Sweet Caroline” as it blared over the loudspeakers.
“For a second there, I was kind of worried about getting run over,” the OSU coach said. “Then I thought, ‘Well, I deserve to be run over.'”
OSU wide receiver Justin Blackmon said the loss, and the wild celebration from the opposing fans it caused, made him feel “empty.” Understandable, since that will likely go down as the moment the Cowboys' national title hopes were dashed.
But, in a way, that night also illustrated how far the OSU program has come.
A team generally has to be good — really good — to be worthy of getting stormed when it loses on the road. The Cowboys have rarely, if ever, held that type of status.
“I think that's the only time that's ever happened to me,” Gundy said.
Many of the ISU faithful went as far as calling its victory over the Cowboys the greatest win in school history because it was the first time the Cyclones beat a team ranked in the top 6 of The Associated Press poll.
“We have had some ‘signature wins' in the three years we have been here, but this one took place at home,” ISU coach Paul Rhoads said. “We are happy that Cyclone Nation got to experience it.”
The Cowboys have arguably been a “storm-worthy” bunch for the past two seasons. But a team also has to lose on the road in order for the field to get rushed. That hadn't been a concern for OSU until the ISU game.
Entering that contest, the Cowboys had won their last 10 road games, preventing any opposing fans from flooding the field.
The Cowboys know they won't have to worry about the opposing fans storming the field after Saturday's Bedlam clash with No. 10 Oklahoma, since the game is at Boone Pickens Stadium. But there's a great chance the OSU fans will rush the field if the Cowboys win to clinch their first Big 12 title and BCS bowl berth.
That would help erase the pain of that Friday night in Ames.
“That was probably the worst feeling ever,” running back Jeremy Smith said. “But just to see it happen in our stadium this week, it's going to be worth it.”
By Gina Mizell