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Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Iowa State Football History: The 1890's

Release: 06/15/2012
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AMES, Iowa - Iowa State’s football legacy stretches over 12 decades back to the program’s formation in 1892. Our Athletics Communications Department recently chronicled the highlights of that history into shortened document for another department project.

So, we decided to share that with you. Each Friday leading up until the home-opener on Sept. 1 vs. Tulsa, will recount major moments in Cyclone football history. We begin with the 1890's.


Iowa State plays first games of football. Contests are played on a field consumed today by Parks Library. The Cyclones played there through the 1913 season.



Iowa State beats Iowa, 16-8 on Oct. 1 in Iowa City in the first game in the Cy-Hawk rivalry.



Glenn “Pop” Warner begins his college coaching career at Iowa State. Warner goes on to become one of the winningest coaches in college football history although his Iowa State games do not count on his record. By the end of September, Warner would head down to coach Georgia in October and November. This arrangement lasts five years.

Iowa State opens the season against the Butte Athletic Club in Butte, Mont. The Butte team, consists of Montana players paid by mine owners to entertain their workers. The game is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 15.  Realizing that the Iowa State faculty would not sanction a Sunday game, Warner tells the faculty the game will be played on Saturday. Their train to Montana was briefly stranded by a freak blizzard forcing the players to forage for food. Arriving in Butte, Warner bets his entire Iowa State salary on the game ($175).  Biased officiating against Iowa State causes Warner’s team to threaten a forfeit, but local officials warn that Iowa State will not get its guarantee unless they play the whole game. The officials in part, are intimidated by miners who shoot their guns in the air when a call goes against Butte AC. The game is played on a dirt field because ore smelters killed all the grass in town.

When the team returns to Ames after a 12-10 loss, Warner tells the faculty that the game had to be moved because of the weather and if Iowa State didn’t play on Sunday, they would not have gotten their expenses paid.

Nearly two weeks after Butte, The Chicago Tribune uses the headline  “Iowa Cyclone Hits Evanstontown” after underdog Iowa State beats Northwestern 36-0 on Sept. 28. Iowa State adopts Cyclones as the school’s nickname.



On Oct. 22, HB Willis Edson’s touchdown dash helps Iowa State win at Minnesota, 6-0.


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