The biggest loss from Saturday wasn't the game, or the time fans spent going out to Colorado to see Iowa State, but it was #4, Austen Arnaud. On Saturday, we saw his knee get bent in a way it definitley should not, and I got a little emotional to see him helped off the field, and helped into the locker room the way he was on Saturday.
It was clear it was bad, but after the MRIs, it is determined that Arnaud needs total knee reconstruction. There isn't anybody I feel more horrible for than him. Here's a guy who did nothing but do what the coaches asked, played his guts out, and did so during a turbulant time in Cyclone Football history, under 3 different head coaches, and 3 different offensive coordinators. He never bitched or complained, always represented himself in a positive way, and lead a lockeroom full of guys when they needed a leader the most. No inside information or anything like that, but if we didn't have Austen, I wonder whether we would have had more key players leave the program when Chizik left.
I don't know the guy personally, but I wish I did. There just are not players I have rooted harder for than Austen, and it pained me when fans would boo him, call for his head, or try to imply that an injury to him is "good, because now they can make a QB change without any drama". Despite all of that talk from fans, local radio personalities being negative moreso than positive about Austen's performance, this was a guy that stayed classy through it all. He never got negative, chippy, or let those people bring him down a level. How many guys can we say about that, in an era where we see college and professional basketball players go on facebook, go on twitter, and lash out at fans or media?
As far as on the field, the moments I'm going to remember Austen about are fueling a comeback in the 2nd half at UNLV a few years ago (we ended up losing, but the comeback aspect was amazing to watch), and also the comeback against Nebraska this year. In both those cases, he put the team on his back, made great throws, and just played lights out. Of course I'll always remember him moving the pile when he kept the ball on the zone read too.
Fortunatley for Arnaud, with his leadership abilities, I have no doubt that in whatever profession he chooses, he will excel at it. He will be remembered and sorely missed from this fan over here. I cannot even begin to imagine how much he will be missed by his coaches and teammates. Obviously he was going to be gone after this season, but I just feel horrible that for everything this guy went through, he won't get to suit up and play one last time at Jack Trice.
Wishing you a speedy recovery and the best of luck in the future. Here's to you #4!