Thursday, July 29, 2010
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.
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
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
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
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.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
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
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
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
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
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 12, 2010
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.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
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
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
Friday, July 2, 2010
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.