With the graduation of Cyclone star Dwight Nichols, Clay Stapleton had to find a suitable replacement to run the balanced-line single-wing attack in 1960. The Cyclone coach called upon sophomore Dave Hoppmann to fill Nichols’ big shoes.
The Madison, Wis., native ran for 152 yards and threw for two touchdowns in his debut in Iowa State’s 46-0 rout over Drake. The next week against Detroit, he set a school total offense record of 320 yards, including 224 yards rushing. Hoppmann led the Big Eight in rushing, setting an ISU record 844 yards rushing on 161 carries.
Hoppmann added to his totals with a strong junior campaign. The Cyclone rushed for 113 yards in ISU’s 21-15 victory over Oklahoma. On Oct. 28, Hoppmann gave an unforgettable homecoming performance against Kansas State, tallying a Big Eight and ISU record 271 yards on 25 carries. Hoppmann’s day was even more unbelievable considering he spent 12 hours in the hospital two days prior to the game. Hoppmann led the nation in total offense with 1,638 yards, earning first-team All-America honors. His rushing total of 920 yards broke his own single-season rushing mark.
Hoppmann earned All-America accolades again as a senior. In the 1962 game against Oklahoma State, Hoppmann ran for 144 yards to break Dwight Nichols’ Big Eight career rushing mark. Hoppmann teamed with Tom Vaughn and Dave Hoover against the Cowboys to mark only the second game in school history in which three Cyclones rushed for over 100 yards in the same contest. The Iowa State back ended his career in style, passing for a career-high 206 yards with scoring strikes of 30 and 44 yards against Sun Bowl-bound Ohio University. Hoppmann led the Big Eight in total offense for the third time as a senior and ranked second in Big Eight career total offense with 4,172 yards. His 2,562 yards on the ground topped the Big Eight charts.