AMES — Plenty has changed around Iowa State and its football program since Troy Davis was on campus.
The south end zone of the stadium has been bowled in, the Bergstrom Football Complex has been constructed and a weight room that left him envious has all been completed since his last visit in 2007.
One thing that remains unchanged has to do with Davis himself. He still is the only running back in Division I football history to rush for 2,000 yards twice in his career.
“A hundred years go by and nobody ever did what Troy did,” said former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney. “Now another 20 years go by and nobody’s ever done it, 2,000 yards two years in a row.
“And (he) did it against top-10 teams and national champion Nebraska and top-10 defenses. You go back and look at the defenses he did it against over and over and over. What he accomplished, it’s hard to put into words really.”
Davis will be honored Saturday during Iowa State’s game against Baylor as he prepares to enter the College Football Hall of Fame in his third year on the ballot. The ceremony will take place on Dec. 6 in New York City.
While completing seasons of 2,010 and 2,185 rushing yards in 1995 and ’96, respectively, Davis also is the only two-time Heisman Trophy finalist in ISU history. He finished second in 1996 to Florida’s Danny Weurffel and still gets asked by ISU fans and others what he thinks of how the voting shook out.
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“I tell everybody that second year, I knew it was coming back to Ames with me,” Davis said. “I came up short to Danny Weurffel, but I’m glad I made the Hall of Fame now. No Heisman Trophy, but definitely the Hall of Fame.”
Davis and his brother Darren, who was a three-time 1,000-yard rusher for the Cyclones, have been in Ames since last Thursday and were present when McCarney was honored for his induction into the ISU Hall of Fame. They both live in Miami and don’t get to see the team play often, but have spent as much time as they can with the team this week.
Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell, who was in high school during Davis’ run with the Cyclones, has embraced having the Davis brothers in town for the first time in nine years and around the program.
“When you talk about a great football program and trying to build a program that stands for the right thing it’s great to have former players, especially somebody like those two, that are back in your program around your kids talking about what success is, looks like and feels like,” Campbell said.
When Davis first found out he would be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, he thought it was a joke. After the initial disbelief, however, came gratitude and pride.
“I just dropped the phone, looked up and said, ‘Thank God. I finally made it,’” Davis said. “It was a blessing. That was one of my goals and that was one of my dreams to get in the Hall of Fame. I did it.”
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