Iowa State was blessed to have the services of one of the best tight ends in college football in the early 1970s in Keith Krepfle. Scouts drooled at his 6-2, 220-pound strong frame and were astounded by his sure-handedness and grace with the football.
From 1971-73, Krepfle was one of the best tight ends in the nation’s No. 1 gridiron alliance – the Big Eight Conference. Krepfle amassed 94 receptions, 1,368 yards and 15 touchdowns in his three years with the Cyclones, playing in two bowl games.
The Potosi, Wis., native hauled in 34 catches for 482 yards and six touchdowns to help the Cyclones gain their first bowl bid (Sun Bowl) in his inaugural season with ISU (1971). ISU was once gain bowl-bound in Krepfle’s junior season, earning a bid to the Liberty Bowl in 1972. Krepfle totaled 450 yards on 30 catches to earn first-team all Big Eight honors. In one of the most memorable games in Cyclone football history, Krepfle caught two of ISU’s three touchdowns vs. No. 3 Nebraska to aid ISU to a 23-23 tie against the Huskers at Clyde Williams Field. Nebraska had won back-to-back national championships and the tie snapped Nebraska’s 24-game Big Eight Conference winning streak.
As a team captain in his senior campaign in 1973, Krepfle was named first-team all-Big Eight for the second consecutive year. He caught 30 passes for 436 yards and five touchdowns. Krepfle led ISU in receiving in two of his three seasons and owns virtually every season and career record for tight ends in school history. His 15 career touchdown receptions is tied for No. 1 all-time in the Cyclone football annals and his 1,368 career receiving yards is seventh all-time.
Krepfle later went on to excel at the next level, playing seven seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and one year with the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL. He caught 152 passes for 2,425 yards and 19 scores in his NFL career. Krepfle’s most successful campaign was in 1979, when he caught 41 passes for 760 yards as a member of the Eagles. Krepfle, who was coached by Dick Vermeil in Philadelphia, was the starting tight end for the Eagles in Super Bowl XV in 1981, becoming the first Cyclone to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl. Vermeil, who led the St. Louis Rams to the 2000 Super Bowl title, called Krepfle “the toughest player I ever coached.”