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Photo courtesy of ISU Special Collections
Courtesy: Athletics Communications

Iowa State Football History: The 1900's

Release: 06/22/2012
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Photo courtesy of ISU Special Collections

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. Our second part features the 1900's. Archive links will be made below. 


A. W. “Shady” Ristine becomes Iowa State’s head coach and leads the Cyclones to a 36-10-1 record in five seasons.


The sports editor of The Des Moines Register convinces the head coaches at Iowa State and Drake to wear numbers on their team’s uniforms for the upcoming Cyclone-Bulldog showdown in Des Moines. The game, played on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26), makes the two schools among the first nationally to don numerals for fan and media identification. Results are flown back to Ames by carrier pigeon. 


Former Iowa All-American Clyde Williams takes over the head coaching job as the Cyclones go 7-1 beating Iowa (20-14) and winning at Drake (13-8) to claim the state championship. Iowa State E Ralph McElhenney convinces an initially skeptical Williams to work the forward pass into the game plans for the season. The pass proves a valuable weapon and by the end of the season, Iowa State is a national leader in use of the play.

The most controversial game is at Nebraska on Nov. 2. The game comes down to an Iowa State drop kick that bounced once on the ground before clearing the cross bar of the goal posts. The referee rules it is not a goal and declares 10-9 Nebraska win. Iowa State appeals to the coach at Yale, rules guru Walter Camp. Camp rules the following March that the goal should have counted toward a 13-10 Iowa State victory. To this day, both teams count the game as a win.  


Iowa State joins the Missouri Valley Conference. B Homer Hubbard, and B Guy Lambert are first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference.


B J.L. Murphy is named first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference.

>> The 1890's

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