Several teams are aware of the danger that arises once the sun sets in Ames, Iowa. Texas is one of them.
Ames, where the university enrollment (36,321) makes up over half the city’s population (66,191), is a college town in the truest form. But when over 60,000 fans file into Jack Trice Stadium it creates a hectic atmosphere for any opponent.
“The thing that you have to realize with Iowa is that they don’t have professional sports,” Brian Mozey, sports editor at The Iowa State Daily, said. “Their professional sports are Cyclones and (Iowa) Hawkeyes. You guys have a lot of different professional sports that you can root for but for Iowans pretty much they have the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones.”
Although Iowa State is not a Big 12 powerhouse by any means, every now and then the Cyclones shock the conference. Oklahoma State learned that first hand six seasons ago. Then-No. 2 Oklahoma State rolled into Ames with a perfect 10–0 record, but the Cyclones ruined that on a Friday night six years ago.
Iowa State fans garnered in cardinal and gold flooded the field following the Cyclones’ shocking 37-31 overtime upset which not only spoiled the Cowboys’ season, but also prevented them from earning a national championship berth.
“I think it’s just the fact that when it comes to here (Ames), they have the idea that anything is possible,” Mozey said. “They’re home, they’re also the underdogs for most of these games … The fact that they’re underdogs is also one of those things where they’re like, ‘We’ll give it our all because we have nothing to lose.”
Four years following the Cyclones’ 2011 upset, Texas got a taste of the craziness in Ames. The Longhorns were coming off big wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State, but that didn’t matter — not in their 24-0 shutout loss to an Iowa State team who was previously 2–5.
“I remember the game was a tough game just because it’s so different out there,” Texas senior linebacker Naashon Hughes said. “The grass is different, the crowd, the people there are different. I think it was Halloween when we actually went to go play out there. There were people dressed up in the stands, there was a banana floating around — it was crazy.”
Two years later, the Longhorns find themselves in Ames once again on a Thursday night. Texas is a three-point favorite but it won’t feel like it once the crowd files in at Jack Trice Stadium, especially on a Thursday night.
“It’ll be a tough one going up to Iowa State,” offensive coordinator Tim Beck said. “Their fans are passionate ... It’ll be a rockin’ crowd up there. Our guys know that, we’ve harped that to them, this is not just some game up in Iowa.”