The Prophecy was True.
The Hawk Slayer has returned.
Once upon a time in 2002, a mobile Juco quarterback named Seneca Wallace shredded the Iowa Defense during the second half of what, at the time, was arguably the most thrilling Cy-Hawk game ever played. He did incredible things. Used his feet to keep plays alive long after they should have been ended. Made effortless throws across his body and carved up the stout Iowa defense. He put the team on his back and carried them off the field and into Cyclone legend.
Nine years later, his spirit just may have been reincarnated into another mobile Cyclone Juco transfer who followed the same script. Here is a list of feats that the man of Steele racked up in Saturday's win against Iowa:
- Opened the game with a 75-yard drive to the Iowa 5. If it were not for a mishandled snap resulting in a fumble, this would have been sure points.
- Hit Darius Reynolds with a great TD pass on 3rd and long, turning a 10-0 game that was on the verge of getting away from the Cyclones into a 10-7 dogfight. It was the play that got the somewhat subdued Jack Trice crowd back into the game after the fumble that ended ISU's first drive. This was the first throw in a series of throws that were placed perfectly out of the reach of the defender, a pattern that would keep Jantz pick-free on the day.
- Late in the 2nd, had the field sense to pick up just enough yards with his feet on 3rd and long, setting up Grant Mahoney's 54 yard field goal that tied the game at 10 going into halftime.
- Hit Josh Lenz with a high, arcing pass to the corner of the end zone to give the Cyclones their first lead of the day midway through the 3rd quarter at 17-16.
- Converted on 3rd and 15, 3rd and 20, 4th and 1, and 3rd and Goal during the final drive of regulation, capping it all off with a game-tying touchdown made possible by Jantz scrambling out of trouble and back across the field before hitting Darius Darks in the end zone.
- Ran sideline to sideline and then heaved what would have been a tying touchdown pass to a wide open Young in the end zone. The play was called back for holding, which might explain why he had time to get sideline to sideline untouched.
- Hit Darius Reynolds on 4th and goal for a game-saving touchdown pass at the end of the first overtime. This marked the second time that the entire game was hinged on the result of a single play by Steele Jantz. (The first being the 4th and 1 with under 2:00 left in the 4th.)
- Picked up a 3rd and 9 on a spectacular scramble to the right sideline in the 2nd OT, setting up a James White touchdown on the next play. Without this conversion, Iowa State kicks a Field Goal and loses when Iowa responds with a touchdown.
- During the 3rd OT, converted a short pass on 3rd down to set up 1st and goal. Two plays later, Steele runs a perfect option pitch and sets up James White to run in the game winner.
- Routinely ducked in, around, and through defenders and linemen, stretching out plays and converting on a number of 3rd down plays. He also made several read options that ended up picking up first downs.
- At least once, pulled off the "run to one sideline and throw across the body to the opposite side of the field" move that really brought back eerie comparisons to Seneca in the '02 game.
- An absolutely obscene stat line. 25 of 37 for 279 yards and 4 touchdowns through the air. 42 yards on the ground. No interceptions. A QB rating of 166.6. 2 for 2 on game-saving 4th down plays.
Of course, we've seen this script before, and it usually involves the Cyclones falling apart in the midst of a grueling trek through a brutal Big XII schedule. Who knows if it will end the same way this year.
Just know that Superman is back, and he's wearing a gold number 2 across his chest.