Wednesday, October 19, 2011

October 19

October 19 is a date that is very memorable for Iowa Football fans. Many remember the historic game in 1985 as the Hawkeyes were #1 in the nation and hosted the #2 Michigan Wolverines.

A year before the Hawkeyes hosted Michigan and the outcome was very convincing for the home team. Michigan fielded one of their more average teams (finished 6-6 losing to BYU in the Holiday Bowl) and the Hawkeyes won in dominating fashion, 26-0. Entering the game in 1985, the Wolverine defense was one of the most dominant in the nation. Entering the game in Iowa City, Michigan had not allowed the opponent's offense into the end zone.

This was a game before ESPN took its Game Day on the road, and CBS didn't send the game to a national audience. Leading into the 2:30 start was Purdue at Ohio State, and many in the country tuned into Kinnick Stadium, but CBS also carried Auburn and Georgia Tech to the southeast region.

The 1985 team arguably was Hayden Fry's best. Fry, the head coach had already taken one Iowa team to the Rose Bowl in 1981, but this team was led by Heisman Runner-Up, Chuck Long. Long was the hero two weeks earlier as his bootleg into the end zone with :31 left gave the Hawkeyes a 35-31 win over Michigan State. On October 19, 1985 the Hawkeyes couldn't make the Wolverine end zone, but an unknown kicker named Rob Houghtlin kicked four field goals, the last coming with :02 to defeat the Wolverines 12-10

Eleven years later, Hayden Fry took another talented team on the road to Big Ten newcomer Penn State. There were many stars on the Hawkeye team including Tim Dwight a talented skill player from Iowa City.

From the moment we arrived into State College, and then until we left a steady rain came down on us. But the Beaver Stadium turf was covered until the last possible moment before the game, and the field conditions couldn't have been better.

Since coming into the conference the Hawkeyes continued to play better every year, but that doesn't say much. The first encounter between the teams the Nittany Lions dropped the Hawkeyes 31-0. The next year may have been the most talented teams PSU coach Joe Paterno has had. Many Nittany Lions went on to long NFL careers from the squad and demolished the undersized Hawkeyes 61-21. But in 1995 the Hawkeyes showed capable of playing with the newest member of the Big Ten keeping them close but losing in the end 41-27. But in 1996 Fry had a team that was capable of beating anyone, anywhere and it happened in Central Pennsylvania.

The highlight of the day was a Tim Dwight Punt Return that helped the Hawkeyes to a 21-20 victory. It was the biggest victory of the year for Fry, and perhaps the last great win for the veteran coach. It was the last time two of the higher profile college coaches met on the playing field, and Fry won that last meeting.

And although the rains continued, those Iowa fans in attendance saw nothing but a victorious Iowa Football team.

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