Iowa State University

1947 - 51 Cyclones
(Authentic Reproduction)



Iowa Agricultural College, nicknamed the Cardinals but changed to the Cyclones after a newspaper article described the way they swept into town to win a game, got off to what should have been a decent start in its football history at the turn of the Twentieth Century. They hired a coach from the East by the name of Glenn "Pop" Warner who went on to become one of the all-time greatest coaches in the history of college football. Unfortunately, he remained at Iowa State, as the school was later renamed, for only four seasons in his formative coaching years and the program settled into a permanent plateau of mediocrity, usually winning as many as they lost with occasional poor seasons and more infrequent excellent seasons sprinkled among those until the end of World War II. When head coach Mike Michalske resigned at the end of the 1946 season with a typical Iowa State type of coaching record of 18-18-3, the search was on for a man to upgrade the football program. Abe Stuber was the one chosen to begin the 1947 season.   
Emmett "Abe" Stuber had been the All Everything quarterback for Missouri's outstanding teams of 1924-'26 and was later elected into the Missouri Athletic Hall Of Fame. He was a successful head coach, most recently spending thirteen seasons leading the Southeast Missouri State program and had earned a reputation as an excellent track coach. He came to the Ames campus in 1947 and as an offensive specialist, immediately hired the 1946 Iowa High School Coach Of The Year Herb Cormack to assist with recruiting and to coach the frosh team. He won the opener but then dropped six in a finish at 3-6. HB Webb Halbert had transferred from Southeast Missouri to remain with Stuber and made the All Big Six team. Tailback Ron Norman finished an impressive college career as a seven-letter winner for his fine play in both football and basketball. With the widespread introduction of the Riddell RT plastic suspension helmet, Stuber put his players in gold shells that were adorned with a Cardinal center stripe that was one-inch in width when his first squad hit the field. 1948 was a slightly improved 4-6 year, Halbert again the team sparkplug until suffering a career-ending concussion in the next-to-last game of the season when tackling Michigan State's All American Lynn Chandois. In 1949, after two years in the Navy and two at Buena Vista JC, transfer Jim Doran proved to be a superlative end, snaring a Big Seven record thirty-four balls for 689 yards, and QB Bill Weeks completed seventy-nine of 176 passes. Stuber used that All Conference combination to garner his first winning record, a 5-3-1 effort that also featured dominant tackle Lowell Titus. In part due to injuries, the 1950 record slipped back to 3-6-1 but Doran and Weeks were at times, difficult to stop, both again being named to the All Big Seven squad. Doran pulled in another record-setting forty-two balls for 652 yards and six TD's to rank as the nation's number three receiver, and then was a standout offensive end for the Detroit Lions and expansion Cowboys (as their first Pro Bowl player) from 1951 through '61. It is an obscure fact that Doran as a two-way player was also All Pro as a defensive end for the Lions' 1952 World Championship team. Coincidentally, Weeks finished as the country's third-ranked passer and was quite successful in his eight years as the head coach of New Mexico during the 1960's. Weeks hired ISU teammate Rod Rust to his New Mexico staff and Rust became a coaching fixture for decades in the NFL, CFL, and as the head coach of North Texas State. Bus Steward played well the entire year with a broken wrist and led the best secondary in the conference. 
The manpower shortages brought on by the Korean War left Iowa State in a more difficult position than most of the Big Seven teams for the 1951 season. They had more football players enter military service than other schools and coincidentally, most were starters. This produced a lack of depth and a great deal of defensive inexperience. Four of the season's nine games saw opponents running up 53, 47, 34, and 35 points in an era where three TD's per game was a lot of offense. The September 29 game at Kansas was considered to be one of the most unusual in Conference history as the Cyclones secured a 27-6 lead in the first sixteen minutes of play, held on to a slim 27-21 margin at the half, and had to live with the disaster of a 53-33 final score! There were three All Conference standouts on the 4-4-1 team including QB Rich Mann who led the conference in passing, completing 104 for 1296 yards. End Mal Schmidt whose father had been a previous Iowa State College captain led the conference with thirty-three receptions and was a swim team record holder. Guard and team captain Stan Campbell was forced to play both ways most of the year and did so with distinction, going on to a nine-year pro career with Detroit, Philadelphia, and the AFL Oakland Raiders.  Young Max Burkett showed promise at both FB and LB, another who had to play on both sides of the ball.

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