There has been a lot of construction on the grounds of Jack Trice Stadium in the last 10 months.
Part of it has been on somewhat public display (the complete enclosure of the facility’s south end) and part of it has been quietly retooled inside the Johnny Majors Practice Field (a total overhaul of the team’s front seven on defense).
Both rebuilds have impressed.
The SEZ project opened to rave reviews Saturday night in front of the first crowd of more than 60,000 in stadium history. A sellout of 61,500 marveled at the huge videoboard on that end, the spectacular ring beam and the Sukup End Zone Club.
Thirty-eight Power 5 conference teams opened play in their home venues this weekend and less than half drew 60k. Here is a sampling of the schools that failed to reach 60,000 for their home opener: Oregon, Minnesota, Pitt, Maryland, Arizona, Iowa, NC State, Illinois, Utah, Texas Tech, Kansas State, Northwestern, Syracuse, Indiana, Rutgers, and Miami.
Only one Big Ten school (Nebraska) outdrew the Cyclones in the opener. There were two from the ACC (Clemson and Florida State) and two from the Pac-12 (UCLA and USC) that had larger opening day crowds in their home venues.
The other rebuild was on the ISU defense. The Cyclones recorded six sacks (their most since the Houston Bowl a decade ago) and 13 tackles behind the line vs. UNI. A “3-4” defense (three linemen, four linebackers) was added to the team’s playbook in the off-season. Dale Pierson stood out with three sacks, but the team’s overall defensive pressure was the dominating factor in the game.
The opening act for both the stadium and the front seven earned a standing ovation. Act II is Saturday afternoon when Iowa visits.