Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Look Back at a Decade of Success

As we countdown the Top Ten Memorable Games of the Kirk Ferentz era, this video highlighting his career will be shown to Iowa fans and boosters Saturday at the annual Golden Harvest celebration. Many of the moments in our series of big games will be found below. Enjoy.

video

Top Ten Most Memorable - #2

Iowa 15 - Michigan State 13 - 2009. For a baseball player to set a record, it may take many home runs, but the last one sets the record. It is the journey that is as important as the record setter. In 2009 there were many memorable moments leading up to the Michigan State victory, but the win at Spartan Stadium is the memorable night that set the record of number of consecutive wins to start a season.

It was a cold, rainy night in Central Michigan. The Hawkeyes knew that to win, they would in one of the more hostile environments of the Big Ten. The student section were yelling obscenities at Iowa fans as they passed by them on the way into the stadium. This was the first night game at East Lansing in close to 20 years, and the fans were looking to derail an undefeated Hawkeye team, and prove to the conference they were a player in the title race.

It was a true defensive battle with some of the hardest hits each side had received all year. State fans cheered everyone of them as well as booed a severe hit, that after deliberation by the officiating crew, resulted in an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Spartan fans were into every hit, run, pass and kick.

It was a game of field goals until late in the game. Michigan State mounted a drive that had a hook and ladder and a desperation touchdown pass giving them a 13-9 lead with just over a minute remaining. Those on the media level knew they were seeing something dramatic. The Hawkeyes needed seven to achieve that school record winning streak.

Quarterback Ricky Stanzi calmly led the Hawkeyes down the field, but time was running down. It came down to four downs from inside the ten with :15 to go. Michigan State fans felt victory was moments away, but time could not click off the home scoreboard fast enough. It came down to a 4th down with :02 to go. Stanzi under center looked for Marvin McNutt on a slant, good for the touchdown and the Iowa bench erupted onto the field. Michigan State fans were stunned, and the noise was coming from across the field where the 4,000+ Iowa fans partied deep into the cold Michigan night.

Once onto the buses the Iowa party had their best chance to check their phones for messages, Facebook for posts and Twitter for tweets. At that time we all noticed that "Iowa" was a trending topic on the famous social media site Twitter.

A week later the streak extended, but for the last time with another dramatic win over Indiana. But that night in East Lansing will long be remembered for how close it came for the streak to end.

Amy T #2 - Iowa 45 - Minnesota 21 - 2002. The Big Ten Championship was on the line, as well as an undefeated Big Ten season as 30,000+ Iowa fans found their way into the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome to bring the goal posts back to Iowa City. At the end of the game the field looked more like Kinnick Stadium than that of a border rival as many Hawkeye fans found their way onto the field. Goal posts were taken down as obnoxious noises were played over the dome's loud speakers encouraging Iowa fans to leave, however they weren't going without the torn down goal posts.

Phil H #2 - Iowa 26 - Penn State 23 - 2000. The game that got the winning ways of the Kirk Ferentz Era started. The week prior the head coach of the Hawkeyes ended 18 months of speculation as he finally signed his contract. After that, the Hawkeye program took off and it started on a beautiful Fall afternoon in State College. Nittany Lion fans didn't know what they were seeing as they expected the storied program to walk all over the one-win Iowa team. The Hawkeyes showed fight, and a glimpse to their fan base as to what was to come. A Nate Kaeding field goal and Ryan Hansen interception sealed the win, the first of many over the Nittany Lions during the Kirk Ferentz era.

Pete #2 - Iowa 38 - Wisconsin 16 - 2008. If Shonn Greene hadn't impressed the Doak Walker voters prior to the October afternoon in Iowa City, the four touchdown performance didn't leave any doubts. Greene proved he was an all-around back on this day as he outran, eluded and ran over Badgers all day long.

End of the T Ball Season

The Yankee T Ball season came to an end on a warm July evening. Of course in T Ball there is no score and there are no winners, but observing my team and how they compared to others, the Yankees were among the better of the Coralville Minor League. Admittedly we had an experienced team with many of the older side of the age limit. In the adjacent photo is Abram who was in his first season. Abram made great strides throughout the year. From our first practices where he didn't know many of his teammates and wasn't aware of how the game was played went on to hit the ball well as well as become a coaching favorite.

Below is Ann who, too was in her first year of T Ball, but was one of the older players on the team. Most memorably will be her response when I would ask as she came to the plate, "Whaddya' Say?" And she would belt out, "YANKEES!" She was one of two we referred to as our Blonde Bombers.

This was a great experience working with great kids and parents who supported the coaches.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Adventureland

When making vacation plans it is easy to overlook the best of the backyard. Over the past twenty years we have driven past Adventureland Park many times, often looking to see if the rides were going, or if the lights were lighting up the night time sky. Occasionally the thought would enter our minds of whether or not we should go, but with a wife who grew up in the shadow of Iowa's only amusement park, taking at day there was a distant thought. Now with a six year old we decided to find out how the park has changed.

Since the late 80s the park has added many rides, replaced a few and became wetter in the process. The Adventure Bay waterpark is a popular destination for people of all ages. Along with two different slide structures, it also has its system of tubes along with a lazy river and wading pool. Perhaps not where you would want to spend the entire day as you can hear every twist and turn of three roller coasters, but a great place to cool off and terrific addition to the amusement park.
But with the additions to the park remain many of the favorites that keep fans coming back. The log ride is as popular today as it was 20 years ago and attracts people of all ages. Perhaps the wettest part is the drop from the smaller slide as I sat in the front and got drenched. The large hill disperses the water much better, but is still a great option to cool off. The Raging River continues to have lines that last over an hour, and while the wait may not be worth it, the ride is still a great way to get wet. Frantic Freeway is also as fun as the newer roller coaster, the Outlaw, but the Outlaw consists of more twists and turns and the bumper car ride providing many solid, jarring hits.

Returning the Adventureland was definitely a hit of the 2010 Summer. More worth the money regarding the different options the park provides. Food isn't as pricey compared to a sporting event, and considering the 12 hour days, the friendly faces of the workers keep the day moving at a great speed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Top Ten Most Memorable - #3

2002 - Iowa 34 - Michigan 9. - Iowa fans like to brag about their rivalry with the Michigan Wolverines. And while many games in the series have gone down to the final minutes, the Hawkeyes haven't been on the winning side often. In 2001, the Hawkeyes almost took down the Maize and Blue in what may have been the most physical game in the series up to the point. However the 2002 game would be different. Played in one of the most storied venues of college football, Michigan Stadium, aka "The Big House," was a raw, rainy cool October afternoon. Michigan didn't think this day would be any different in the series with the Hawkeyes - they were at home on Homecoming - and they felt they outtalented the Hawkeyes at every position on the field. The Hawkeyes took control of the game early with a 10-6 halftime lead. In the second half the Hawkeyes came out more confident and stymied the Wolverine offense. The longest run on the day was a scramble by Wolverine quarterback, John Navarre but the Hawkeye offense could not be stopped. At the end of the day the Michigan fans fled to the parking lots early while those who made the drive from Iowa City celebrated well after the final gun. Perhaps the most memorable part of the game was the Hawkeye team staying on the field and singing the Iowa Fight Song with the 4,000+ fans. It isn't often to beat Michigan at home, but it is more rare to win in convincing fashion.

Amy T #3 - Iowa 24 - Penn State 23 - 2008. Thanks to a late Tyler Sash interception and a Daniel Murray field goal, the Iowa Hawkeyes upset the undefeated Penn State Nittany Lions in perhaps the biggest home win of the Kirk Ferentz era.

Phil H #3 - Iowa 15 - Michigan State 13 - 2009. A school record for consecutive victories to start a season was on the line on a cold and raw October night in East Lansing. It took the entire 60 minutes, but the Hawkeyes continued the winning streak with a touchdown on 4th and 2 from the 2 with :02 on the clock.

Pete #3 - Iowa 15 - Michigan State 13 - 2009.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Top Ten Most Memorable - #4

#5 - Iowa 24 - Penn State 23 - 2008. With national title aspirations on the line, the Penn State Nittany Lions entered the game in Iowa City as the number three team in the country. As the last road game on the Nittany Lions schedule, get past the 5-4 Iowa team and the argument would begin from Central Pennsylvania as to why they should play for the BCS Title. With the legendary Joe Paterno sitting in the press box due to an on-field injury he watched as his Nittany Lion team struggled out of the gate, almost losing the ball at their own one and punting to the Iowa team which found Doak Walker winner Shonn Greene rolling into the end zone for seven. The Iowa Defense was stingy and kept the Penn State offense from making key first downs or trips into the end zone. But each team would not back down. Trailing in the fourth quarter the Hawkeyes looked back to Shonn Greene who put the black and gold on his back putting the Hawks a field goal away from the win. The final Penn State drive had Tyler Sash intercepting a Daryll Clark pass which set Iowa up for a Daniel Murry field goal with a few seconds left. It was the biggest win for Iowa at home in a number of years and began a streak of win that would take them to the same weekend a year after this upset.

Amy T #4 - 2009 Iowa 15 - Michigan State 13. A record for consecutive wins to start a season was on the line as Ricky Stanzi complete a touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt on the game's final play for a Hawkeye victory.

Phil H. #4 - 2009 Iowa 21 - Penn State 10. In front of a White House, the Iowa Hawkeyes surprised most of the nation by winning in one of the nation's largest crowds. Penn State was looking for redemption for the loss at Iowa City the year before, but after taking an early 7-0 lead could not get their offense going.

Pete #4 - 2000 Iowa 21 - Michigan State 16. No one thought it would take the Hawkeyes over a year for Kirk Ferentz to secure his first conference victory, but in front of a Homecoming crowd, the Hawkeyes played steady, taking the lead in the fourth and hanging on for the victory.

Big Z's Big Return

Following a dugout tirade with teammates at US Cellular Park and treatment for anger management, Chicago Cubs ace pitcher Carlos Zambrano started his path back to the major leagues. On a warm and humid night in Des Moines, Big Z pitched in front of the largest crowd of the season at Principal Park. It lasted fifteen pitches, ten of which were strikes and two hits. But there were no walks, strikeouts or runs. The $95 million dollar veteran entered the game in the seventh inning to a standing ovation, but relied on some good defense to keep Oklahoma City off the board. His projected return to the parent club is July 30th in Colorado.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Next Cubs Manager?

After the news of Lou Pinella broke that he would retire as manager of the Chicago Cubs effective at the end of the season, speculation began to swirl of who may be next. Who is believed being groomed for the job is Hall of Fame Cub second baseman, Ryne Sandberg.

After taking some time away from the game once he retired, he was anxious to get involved again. And the aspirations appeared that he wanted to manage the team that he helped lead to a couple of division titles. He started out as the manager of the Peoria Chiefs where his two years there were close enough to the big lead team that fans of him and the Cubs could keep a close eye on him. While there he knew his role. Not only would he learn on the job how to manage and see what the Cubs organization had, but he was also the ambassador for the parent club signing autographs for fans of all ages prior to each game, home and away.

The Cubs knew it was time for him to make the move to Double A Tennessee Smokies, but very little attention was paid to him being so far away from the media of the third largest market. Chicago also had him on a time table to ready him for the major leagues. So after one season in the Volunteer State, Sandberg was now a ninety minute flight from Wrigley Field.

As an Iowa Cub he was no different than the manager of the Chiefs, but knew there wasn't any more room to move up. If he is to stay in the Chicago Cub organization his next stop would have to be in the Friendly Confines. But did he think that opportunity would come while the parent team is underachieving, dealing with organization enforced player suspensions and a frustrated fan base finding more and more empty seats. In other words did he expect to inherit a mess?

No one knows more about the talent in the Cubs organization than Ryne Sandberg, but perhaps the most idolized Cub of those who are paying for the tickets would he want to tarnish his image by placing himself in a tough-to-win situation? With high-paying player contracts that won't expire for at least another three years, high enough to make them tough to move in today's market, how effective can Sandberg be? And what if his success doesn't measure up to what Lou had will that affect how he will be remembered in blue pinstripes? The best example I know of to compare him to is another favorite athlete of mine turned coach, Bart Starr.

Starr was the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers during their most successful run including championships and Super Bowl victories. Starr could do no wrong, and if your newborn son wasn't named Vince during the 60s, most likely Wisconsin residents would name him Bart. Shortly after his playing career Starr's number was retired, and soon after that he was asked to be the head coach and return the Packers to Championship form. But in his nine years his record was 53-77-3 with one playoff appearance coming in the NFL's strike year. No where near the Championship form of his playing years. Although still idolized in northeastern Wisconsin, definitely a blemish on his legacy as a Green Bay Packer.

Sandberg would be put into the same situation, but with a fan base who is looking to him to finally break that World Series Title drought of over 100 years. In doing so he will be given players who are overpaid with questionable chemistry. As a minor league manager he has become known as one who expects his players to play hard on every play, hustle around the bases and give their all like he did for many years. But in the minors players have to play that way in order to advance to the next level. In Chicago he will be dealing with players who will be paid whether or not the manager plays them, he just won't be able to send them down as easily. Is this the Chicago Cub team he wants to be identified with?

Ryno may feel his is ready for the challenge, but the logical move is to hire someone else, someone with little to lose, but with great knowledge of the game. A Joe Torre or a Bob Brenly who each have a World Series ring and may be looking for a new challenge. Let Sandberg come up and be their bench coach. Watch the majors from the sidelines and continue to learn, knowing he will take over when the time is right.

But is this what Sandberg will want? Probably not, but no one wants to see him fail, and the Cubs are setting him up to do that.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Yankees - Athletics

For the first time this year, the entire Yankee squad was in attendance, and perhaps saved its best TBall for this night, too. Outstanding hitting paved the way for the Yankees led by Ben (adjacent photo) who had not only one or two, but three grand slams batting in the bottom position of the order. Ann led the way in the field with many assists and unassited put-outs. And after a slow start, Colin did his talking with the bat with three solid hits reaching the outfield grass.

One more game in the season for the improving Yankee squad. That gets underway July 27 at the Coralville Youth Sports Complex Diamond 2. Game time is 6:15.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Top Ten Most Memorable - #5

2002 - Iowa 31 - Purdue 28 - At a point in the season where the Iowa Football team was trying to find itself, the Purdue Boilermakers made a visit to Kinnick Stadium with confidence and attitude. The one team that had given the Hawkeye offense fits since Kirk Ferentz arrived at Iowa was doing it again. The Purdue offense was having success against the proven D, but the difference on this Fall afternoon was the play of the Iowa Special Teams. A blocked punt for touchdown along with a blocked field goal returned over seventy yards for a seven was joined by a 50+ yard field goal by Lou Groza award winner Nate Kaeding accounted for over half of the Hawkeye points. But one play, one series and one player defined the day for Iowa. Mackey Award winner Dallas Clark proved to be the Hawkeye hero. In the third quarter Heisman Runner-Up Brad Banks connected with Clark for a 95 yard out pattern which resulted in a touchdown. The combo proved to work once again later in the game. With the Hawkeyes facing a fourth down with less than a minute to go, Banks and Clark connected again for the game winning touchdown pass from the seven. But the Boilers would not give up. Moving down the field Purdue looked as if they would do no worse than tie, but lesser known defensive back Adolphus Shelton picked off a Brandon Kirsch pass at the Iowa 25 and the Hawkeye faithful poured out onto the Kinnick Stadium turf. Word has it Purdue head coach Joe Tiller was quoted as saying, "What the Hell just happened." And more was said from the Purdue Coaches Booth in the press box, but that language was heard often throughout the game, but not for print here.

Amy T #5 - Iowa 24 - Ohio State 27 - 2009. The battle for the Big Ten Championship was on the line in the horseshoe, but an overtime period that found the Hawkeyes losing yards, and the Buckeyes maintaining field goal range was the difference as the Buckeyes headed to Pasadena.

Phil H #5 - Iowa 31 - Purdue 28 - 2002.

Pete V #5 - Iowa 29 - Minnesota 27 - 2004. Another crazy game in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. The Hawkeyes sealed a victory that found place kicker Kyle Schlicker kicking five field goals and linebacker Chad Greenway stopping the Gopher running game behind the line of scrimmage resulting in a missed field goal giving the Hawkeyes their sixth straight win en route to a share of the Big Ten Championship.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Top Ten Most Memorable - #6

We are now at #6. Just a quick recap of criteria. These are regular season games, not bowl games. Most memorable is the requirement which keeps the list suggestive. And it is from 1999 to the present.

My #6 - Iowa 21 - Penn State 10 2009. On a rainy evening, and in front of a national television audience, revenge was on the minds of all those wearing white in the Beaver Stadium "White House." A year earlier the Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in Iowa City and crushed any hopes Penn State would have at playing for the national title. Throughout the day there were signs that the Blue and White naiton hadn't forgotten. ESPN GameDay was live from the Central PA campus and a vendictive attitude towards those wearing black and gold could be felt. We were warned by locals the night before that if anyone was to venture into the college area, we would better off not wearing Iowa colors. Prior to State taking the field, "the kick" - Iowa's last second field goal for victory in '08 - was shown to fire up the crowd. Rain didn't damper their enthusiasm, and on the first offensive play, the Nittany Lions connected on a 79 yard pass play for a touchdown and the sold out crowd provided the most noise that I can ever remember. The fans began jumping and the outdated press box was shaking. But when these two teams meet, and in this case as undefeateds, the game was far from over. After the Nittany Lions took the seven point lead, the Iowa defense made it difficult for Penn State to move the ball. A safety in the end zone and a blocked punt returned for a touchdown made set the tone for the night and Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark, who wanted to redeem himself for the loss in '08, picked up where he left off and threw for three interceptions. An Adam Robinson run for touchdown sealed the game, and a Daniel Murray field goal put it out of reach for a Hawkeye victory, the seventh in the last eight games with Penn State. Afterwards there was no doubt that Iowa was a player in the national polls.

Amy T #6 - Iowa 30 - Wisconsin 7 2004. With a share of the Big Ten title on the line, and the introduction of the Heartland Trophy, the Hawkeyes shut down the border rivals Badgers securing a spot in the Capital One Bowl.

Phil H #6 - Iowa 42 - Penn State 35 (2OT) 2002 - Iowa kicked off the Big Ten season in style by taking a big lead on the Nittany Lions, only to let them back into the game. The defense rose to the occassion in the second OT keeping Penn State out of the end zone. The win was the first of eight consecutive victories in the conference.

Pete #6 - Iowa 6 - Penn State 4 2004 - Iowa scored two field goals and gave up two safeties to the Nittany Lions for one of the more unique games in the series.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Check Out these Chicken Strips

Check out the new blog which reviews chicken strips. Colins Chicken Strips provides insight into where the best place to buy the best nuggests around. The reviews are done by Colin Engelbert and written up by Dana Engelbert. If you are looking for some good chicken strips, this is a must site for you to hit.

http://colinschickenstrips.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yankees - Orioles

Following a week where the Yankees didn't play due to unplayable field conditions, they were back in action against the Orioles. Being the road team, the Yankees took to the Tee first. Hitting started out a little slow, but picked up in the second and third innings. Ben had a couple of nice hits back up the middle, and Madison homered in each of her at bats, clearing the bases each time.

Fielding was a bit more of a challenge on this night as the Orioles were another team that felt it was more important to be pitched to, and not hit off the tee. The Yankees found it difficult to maintain their focus while waiting for the ball to be hit. Nonetheless there was some good play in the field by Ann and Sydney. The concept of covering first by the first baseman each inning was a work in progress, but by the end of the lineup, each Yankee assigned to the bag caught on and did a fine job.


The highlight of the night was the talk of All-American Iowa Football player Adrian Clayborn. Eyes were wide as the Hawkeye Defensive Lineman spoke of his experiences.

Monday, July 12, 2010

#7 Most Memorable Moment Since 1999

#7 took place in 2003 on the last weekend of the season. Typically Iowa takes on Minnesota to close out the season, but due to a scheduling quirk, the Hawkeyes and Wisconsin Badgers finished the season for a couple of years. This would be the last battle among the border states that did not include the Heartland Trophy, and this game showcased two similar teams competing for a New Year's Day bowl game. It was Senior Day in Camp Randall, and it was a cool November late afternoon which turned into a rainy evening in the Dairy State.

Each team had their battles with injury, throughout the season and within the game. The Hawkeyes battle cry "Next Man In" became popular during the season as little known Ramon Ochoa and Tyler Luebke played prominent roles. The Badgers went through three different quarterbacks against the Hawkeyes, and resorted back to the starter who suffered from concussion-like symptoms.

The game started out with the Badgers taking a commanding 21-7 lead in the second quarter. The Hawks scored ten points before intermission narrowing the deficit to 4. I looked into the stands to a friend at halftime and said, "We score ten, we win." The second half momentum switched as starting Wisconsin quarterback, Jim Sorgi was sent to the sidelines by the Iowa Defense. Matt Schabert came in, but failed to move the Badger offense as the Hawkeyes took the lead. It came down to one last Wisconsin drive headed by John Stocco. The Iowa Defense had stepped up the entire day rotating fresh players, but the defensive line had no one left. Iowa City native Tyler Luebke came running to the sidelines, only to be met by Defensive Line coach Ron Aiken who forced him back in. Luebke said he had nothing left in his tank, and Aiken responded, "We don't have anyone else." Stocco drove the Badgers down, but with no timeouts, completed a pass over the middle with less than fifteen seconds running on the clock. A pass with no more than a second on the clock was batted down in the end zone and the Hawkeyes went on to victory and an 9-3 win. It was the second trip for Kirk Ferentz to Wisconsin since his initial visit as a head coach in 1999. That year was a coronation of the Badger team who celebrated Ron Dayne's national rushing record and a Big Ten Championship with a trip to the Rose Bowl. Four years later the Hawkeyes went home victorious with a 27-21 win.

Amy T #7 - 2008 Iowa 55 - Minnesota 0. The Hawkeyes closed out the metrodome in style shutting out the Gophers and keeping the Floyd of Rosedale trophy for one more year.

Phil Haddy #7 - 2003 Iowa 27 - Wisconsin 21

Pete Van Elswyk's #7 - 2002 Iowa 45 - Minnesota 21. The Hawkeyes traveled to the Twin Cities in attempt to finish the Big Ten season at 8-0 and take at least a share of the Big Ten title back to Iowa City. Not only did Flod and the Big Ten Trophy leave the Metrodome that day, so did the goal posts as the Hawkeye fans stormed the field and walk out the stadium with the poles high above their head.

Miller Park

Last week we had the opportunity to take in a major league game at yet another midwest ballpark. This time the destination was Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Friday's Milwaukee Brewer - Pittsburgh Pirates game. These two teams are among the bottom of the National League Central. The Brewers not getting everything out of their talent, while the Pirates continue to trade off their good players in one continuous "build for the future."

Miller Park was built at the turn of the century. It sits next to the former home of the Brewers, Braves and football's Green Bay Packers, County Stadium. Old County Stadium was a great venue to watch baseball. Outdoors with plenty of parking and Bernie the Brewer sliding into a mug of beer after every home run by the home team. In moving to newer Miller Park, many of the same characteristics carried over. Still plenty of parking along with the opportunity for outdoor baseball, but Bernie the Brewer now has a water slide, another trademark of the dairy state and its numerous water parks.

However the game day experience has gone down along with the play on the field. Tailgating continues in the parking lots outside the park, but once inside the empty seats are becoming more noticeable. On this night the roof was open, the first time on my few trips to Miller Park. With a breeze out of the west, it could not be felt causing a very warm feel when the temperatures were in the 70s. Cheerleaders were now part of the experience, and they did a routine to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Cheerleaders have a part in sports, but not during the seventh inning stretch. And in 2011 the basic scoreboard will be replaced by an HD board, and it can't come soon enough. Although we made an appearance on the big screen, the fan experience could be enhanced with a better jumbotron presentation.

Below is a sampling of the night:


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Top Ten Most Memorable - #8

#8 is a tie between two games played at Penn State with the Nittany Lions The first is the 2000 game as Kirk Ferentz went back to his home state for the first time as a head coach. It was an afternoon in which very few believed this "Ferentz guy" would actually get it done in Iowa City. The "nice guy" did not seem like he could get the program going in the right direction, and it wasn't until a few days before entering the contest that he would come to terms of a contract, nearly two years after accepting the job. Overcast skies greeted the Hawks and the future leaders of the team were starting to emerge. Players such as Nate Kaeding, Fred Barr, and Colin Cole played a huge role in this double overtime thriller that found Ryan Hansen intercepting a Rashard Casey pass in the second overtime. The win started the winning ways for the Iowa program while sending Penn State to the bowl sidelines. Iowa took the victory 26-23.
The 2004 contest was the most unique in the series. Once again the storyline centered around Kirk Ferentz leading into Saturday. Ferentz had spent little time with his squad as he was dealing with the death of his father with the funeral taking place the day before the game.  The first he saw of his team was at the hotel in State College for the night meetings. What made this game unique was how the scoring took place. Two field goals for the Hawkeyes, two safeties for the Nittany Lions and the final ended up being 6-4, Iowa. It was an emotional scene in the locker room as Ferentz was awarded the game ball, bringing tears to many involved.

Amy T #8 - 2005 Iowa 20 Wisconsin 10 - The final home game for Wisconsin head coach Barry Alvarez was spoiled the Hawkeyes as they were seeking redemption for a heartbreaking loss the week before to Northwestern. The post-game ceremonies went on in front of a shocked Badger crowd who had not expected their beloved head coach to leave the Camp Randall sidelines with a loss.

Haddy #8 - 2003 Iowa 30 Michigan 27 - Any time the Wolverines are defeated is a special occasion. This time it was done on the Hawkeye's Homecoming, and this was definitely a party. The Wolverines stormed to an early lead, but the determination of the Hawkeyes fought back and took a lead in the second half. Up ten late in the game, Michigan tried all they could, but the Iowa defense kept Michigan out of the end zone when needed.

Pete's #8 - 2002 Iowa 34 Michgan 9 - Facing Michigan in the big house is never easy, but the Hawkeyes made it look so. The Wolverines had trouble getting anything going on this rainy, foggy day which sent the locals home quickly.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

#9 Most Memorable Iowa Football Game since 1999

The countdown continues of the Top Ten Most Memorable Iowa Football Games under Kirk Ferentz. #9 on this list could be best described by the Four Seasons popular song, "Oh What a Night."

Engy's #9 - 2008 Iowa 55 Minnesota 0. It would be the last time the battle for Floyd of Rosedale would take place inside the downtown Metrodome facility. It would also be the last time Hawekeye fans would flock to what would become termed "Kinnick North," a home away from home as Iowa fans traveled well up Interstate 35 and drown out their neighbors to the north. Emotions ran high on this night as it was not only Senior Night for the Gophers, but the final home game played under the Teflon roof before they took their show to the new on-campus TCF Bank Stadium. A border battle was expected, but there was little fight on this cold Minneapolis night. The Hawkeyes seemed stymied by the Gopher defense early on as quarterback Ricky Stanzi used up all three timeouts early in the first quarter, but it didn't take long for the Shonn Greene show to pick up steam. Not only did the Doak Walker winner pound away at touchdowns, but the Iowa Defense contributed to the scoring parade as Amari Spievey intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. What started out as a competitive game turned into a comedy by halftime sending many of the fans from the north home early, never wanted to see another Gopher game indoors. The Hawkeye fans however didn't want to leave, and in some respects, treated it as their home as the score ended up 55-0, the worst defeat in the history of the series.

Amy T #9 - 2003 Iowa 27 -Wisconsin 21. The Hawkeyes held on late in the last game of the series before the Heartland Trophy was introduced a year later in Iowa City.

Phil Haddy #9 - 2004 Iowa 33 Ohio State 7. An afternoon in Iowa City which many will not forget. A complete domination of a traditional Big Ten power. Most notable for the Buckeyes on this day was the emergence of Troy Smith, future QB who will go on to lead the Buckeyes to the National Title Game in the following years. Smith came entered in the second half and held onto the job for the rest of his career.

Pete #9 - 2002 Iowa 31 Purdue 28. Iowa's Dallas Clark scored the winning touchdown in the final minutes on a fourth down play, while unknown Adolphus Shelton intercepts a Purdue pass deep in Iowa territory to preserve victory.

Now it is your time to list your #9 in the list.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Corridor Fourth

When the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday, one would think this holiday would take on a relaxing feel to it. But that was not the case as we were supportive of the Iowa City - Cedar Rapids corridor.

After finishing the 8K, all eyes were turned toward Colin as he entered the Cedar Rapids Alliant Fun Run. This year he wanted to run the route by himself and he did quite well. Althought times and places are recorded, this year's effort was more impressive over his frist year in 2009
On the way back was the Ely Fireman's Breakfast. Nothing says small town on a Sunday than a Fireman's Breakfast. Ely was much success with this outing, and the weather had to contribute to a larger crowd in 2010.
It was then on to the Coralville Fourth of July parade. Typically this annual tradition takes place in the morning, but with it falling on a Sunday, the City of Coralville didn't want to mess with the Sunday Church schedule.
And finally, to end the non-stop action was the Iowa City Jazz Festival on the University of Iowa Pentacrest.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Top Ten Most Memorable Regular Season Games

Kirk Ferentz arrived in 1999 to become the head football coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes, and in that time there have been many memorable moments on the field. He has had his share of great games, wins, players and plays that have defined not only his career but placed Iowa Football in the elite of college football programs. Drawing upon a few individuals who have been with the program since that time I have asked for their Top Ten Most Memorable Regular Season Games.

Those who responded with their lists were Sports Information Director Phil Haddy, Iowa Football Recruiting Secretary Amy Thomas, Kinnick Stadium Facility Director Pete Van ElsWyk. The four of us came up with our own lists - all for different reasons. And on this list we kept it to regular season contests. There were many memorable bowl wins, but I wanted to give a little more meaning to what got the team to the post season. We will count down those games and I encourage anyone who reads this to post theirs in the comment section as we progress from ten to one.

Engy's #10 - 2009, Iowa at Ohio State--The Big Ten Championship was on the line at the Horseshoe in Columbus. The winner of the game would receive the automatic Rose Bowl bid. Iowa was without starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi who was lost the week before in the team's first loss of the season. They were also without running back Brandon Wegher. The coronation of the Buckeye's as champs seemed evident by many of those in attendance. However the Hawkeyes played with heart and determination of a champion. James Vandenberg came on to lead the Hawkeyes with the confidence of an experienced senior, not a freshman making his first start. The Keokuk native threaded the needle on some passes, as well as aired out a few stretching the Buckeye secondary. The talented Iowa Defense had the Buckeyes on their heels throughout the game, chasing the Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor all over the field. It had the feel of a title fight, showcasing what Big Ten football is all about to a national television audience. However as the game entered overtime, the Hawkeyes could not make the end zone, as the Buckeyes hit a 39 yard field goal for the victory.
Memorable doesn't need to mean winning, but amid all of the close contests Iowa played in 2009, this may have been the most entertaining. In one of the most iconic settings for college football, a title game played to the wire is memorable, even if the outcome wasn't a win.

Phil's #10 - 2008, Iowa 55 - Minnesota 0. The last game at the Metrodome, or as Iowa fans referred to it as, "Kinnick North." The worst loss by the Gophers in the series of the rivalry.

Amy's #10 - 2002, Iowa 31 - Purdue 28. A signature game in the historic 2002 undefeated Big Ten season. A dramatic Iowa comeback, along with a defensive stop to secure the victory.

Pete's #10 - 2007, Iowa 10 - Illinois 6. A walk-on, Brett Greenwood (intern on the Kinnick Summer Crew) intercepted an Illinois pass in the end zone to secure the win in Kinnick Stadium.

Now post your #10 in the comment section. There are no right or wrong answers. Memorable  is subjective and there have been many memorable regular season games. We will post our #9 game in the next few days.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Former Hawkeye DB turned 3rd Base Coach

When Iowa Football speaks of those who make it to the next level, the NFL is the league most will consider. But out of the last 20 years an All-Big Ten Defensive Back has made his way into the coaching ranks of Major League Baseball. Recruited to play two sports as a Hawkeye from New Jersey, Bo Porter excelled in baseball following his college career. After bouncing around the minor leagues with a couple of opportunities in the majors, Porter has found success as a coach.

Porter spent five years in the Marlins organization and was elevated to third base coach by manager Fredi Gonzalez. Bo joined the Diamondbacks prior to the 2010 season, but has managerial aspirations. He was most recently rumored as a replacement for Gonzalez at Florida, and has had other interviews. The time is near when Porter will be the manager of a Major League Club, and while in St. Louis for a three-game series, he sought the advice of Cardinal manager, Tony LaRussa.

Part of Bo's responsibility is throwing Batting Practice before games. In St. Louis, BP was taken inside Busch Stadium on this warm afternoon. Hitting Coach, Jack Howell oversees the session. Howell is a native of Arizona, and the barbs were being tossed between the ex-Hawkeye Football player and the fan of the Arizona Wildcats. The Hawkeyes and Wildcats meet again in 2010 after the Hawkeyes won the 2009 battle in Kinnick Stadium.

Howell utilizes video with all of his hitters. A video coordinator travels with the team and takes in all the different angles shown of home plate. The Arizona hitting coach will spend time after innings looking at some pitches and swings, but will rarely try to fix anything in-game. Typically he utilizes the video to check on location of pitches, or noticing anything that may be out of place in a player's swing. However he will sit down with the hitters after the game if he observes anything needing work.
Without a doubt Porter will be calling the shots soon at the Major League level. At the end of the season there will be many more openings, and it will be no surprise to anyone to see Bo sitting in the dugout was the team's Manger.