AMES, Iowa - Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads has Cyclone fans on
notice: don't miss a game. With record crowds
the past two seasons and a large contingent set to attend the AutoZone Liberty
Bowl in Memphis, the Iowa State fan base has proven it is fully behind the
This season alone, every conceivable Iowa State home
attendance record was shattered. The
Cyclones set new marks for the highest attended game (56,800), average attendance
per game (55,274) and total attendance (386,918) in program history. The 2012 campaign marked the
second-consecutive season Iowa State has broken its average-attendance-per-game
mark, eclipsing last season's record of 53,647.
There is no one answer as to why Cyclone fans are flocking
to Iowa State games in record numbers.
In an effort to receive feedback from the fans themselves, Iowa State
reached out to its supporters on the team's Facebook account. Numerous responses were given, but a vast
majority focused on the work of Rhoads and the steadily improving play of the
No matter what fans' reasons are for attending games, the
impact on the football program has been immense. People across the country are taking notice,
and receiving an invitation to the historic and prestigious Auto Zone Liberty
Bowl is a prime example.
When Iowa State athletics director Jamie Pollard began
communication with Liberty Bowl representatives, he was able to use the record
attendance figures as evidence Cyclone football is on the rise and well
supported. As a result, Iowa State fans
have the opportunity to experience Memphis on New Year's Eve, watch the
Cyclones in the seventh-oldest bowl game, and travel to one of the bowls
closest to Ames. The game will also
serve as a 40-year anniversary celebration of the Cyclones' first Liberty Bowl
appearance and feature an appearance by then-ISU coach Johnny Majors.
"There is clearly a lot of excitement about our football
program," Rhoads said. "When you talk about Iowa State fans, you begin your
conversation with the world loyalty. The turnout for our Liberty Bowl speaks
louder than words about our fans' commitment to the football team. I'm looking
forward to seeing everybody in Memphis."
Clearly, the AutoZone Liberty Bowl has only heightened the
excitement of the rabid Iowa State fan base, as Cyclone Nation gobbled up the
team's initial ticket allotment of 10,000 and current sales exceed 13,000.
AutoZone Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart is elated
with the response of Cyclone Nation.
"We are expecting an excellent turnout for the game,"
Ehrhart said. "We are excited to have Iowa State and thrilled for the Cyclones
to be back for their 40-year anniversary."
The excitement and support Iowa State has received will only
continue to extend into other aspects of the football program after the
Cyclones' face Tulsa in the Liberty Bowl.
In the meantime, fans should get used to being surrounded by thousands
of others wearing Cardinal and Gold.