Otto Stowe stands as one of the finest receivers in Cyclone football history. A three-year letterwinner, Stowe set virtually every school receiving record during his outstanding three-year career (1968-70).
A native of Springfield, Ill., Stowe was an all-state performer in both football and basketball at Feitshans High School before arriving in Ames. He was briefly a member of the ISU basketball team, playing in four games during the 1968-69 season before concentrating on football after his sophomore season.
Stowe quickly became ISU’s go-to receiver under the guidance of Hall of Fame coach Johnny Majors. Stowe led the Cyclones in receiving in his initial season (1968), catching 34 passes for 421 yards. He established himself as one of the best pass-catchers in the Big Eight Conference in his junior season, leading the squad in receiving for the second consecutive season with 39 receptions for 508 yards. At 6-2, 190 pounds, Stowe was considered a strong, powerful receiver in his day. He was adept at turning short pass routes into big gains with his superb running.
As a senior in 1970, Stowe recorded the most prolific receiving season in school history, breaking single-season school marks in receptions (59), receiving yards (822) and touchdowns (6). He led the Big Eight in all three categories and ranked 13th nationally in receiving to earn first-team all-Big Eight honors. Stowe recorded three 100-yard receiving games that year, including a career-high 143 yards on six receptions in a narrow 29-28 loss to national power Oklahoma. His 59 catches still ranks fifth all-time and his 822 yards is currently the seventh-best single-season effort in school history. He finished his career as ISU’s all-time leader in receptions (132) and receiving yards (1,751), and second in career touchdowns (10). He still ranks third in career receptions and fifth in receiving yards in the ISU record book.
His exploits on the field earned invitations to three postseason games (North-South, All-American Bowl, All-America Game) and helped him gain interest from the pro scouts. The Miami Dolphins selected the 1971 ISU Athlete of the Year in the second round as the 47th pick of the 1971 NFL Draft, the fourth-highest pick for a Cyclone gridder in school history.
Stowe played four seasons in the NFL, recording 43 receptions, 742 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. He recorded 13 passes for 276 yards as a member of one of the most famous teams in NFL history, the undefeated (17-0) 1972 Miami Dolphins. He is one of only three Cyclones to be on a winning Super Bowl team (Tom Randall, Dallas; Karl Nelson, New York Giants).
Traded to Dallas in 1973, Stowe was having an All-Pro season. Through six games, he led the Cowboys in receptions (23), receiving yards (389) and touchdowns (6) before an ankle injury sidelined him for the rest of the season. Despite playing just half of the year, he still led the Cowboys in touchdown catches and ranked second in receiving. He played just one more NFL season, seeing limited time with the Denver Broncos in 1974. In his four NFL seasons, Stowe was a member of two Super Bowl teams and three teams that reached a conference championship game.
Stowe and his wife, Judy, live in Santa Barbara, Calif. They own and operate Organic Sports, which specializes in utilizing proven natural and organic treatments and techniques to improve an athlete’s overall performance.