Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who Are You and Why Do We Care?: Iowa Hawkeyes

Is there a rivalry here?
Michigan has been playing Iowa since 1900, but in 57 meetings, Michigan has a 40-13-4 record. Although the match up has been back and forth over the past decade, historically there is not a rivalry.

So who is their biggest rival?
Iowa is one of the few Big 10 teams whose biggest rival is not in the Big 10. Their rivalry with Iowa State is so fierce that they had to bring in a Corn Mascot to keep the peace. They also created the worst trophy in the history of trophies for the winner.

When did we see them last?
The Wolverines entered Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa with a 7-1 record, while the Hawkeyes were 5-3. At this point, Michigan still had a chance to tie the Michigan State Spartans for the Legends Division lead (although the Spartans still had the tiebreaker). Michigan went three and out on its first possession, and Iowa got the ball. After two long passes by James Vandenberg, Marcus Coker finished the job, and rushed the Hawkeyes into the end zone. The two teams traded three and outs, before Michigan started to move the ball. After a slow drive down the field, Denard Robinson threw the ball to Fitzgerald Toussaint for a five yard touchdown. The snap was bad on the extra point, and Drew Dileo tried to run it in for a two point conversion, but he failed. The second quarter saw Iowa score twice, while Michigan gave the ball away. After converting on a fourth and eight try, Iowa drove down the field where Vandenberg completed a one yard pass to Brad Herman for the touchdown. Denard would fumble on the next possession, giving Iowa the ball on the Michigan 31. Iowa would not advance much farther, but Mike Meyer connected on a 42 yard field goal. In the two minute drill, Denard threw a pass to the end zone, but it was intercepted by Iowa's Christian Kirksey. 

The third quarter was a defensive struggle, as the only points came on a 32 yard field goal from Brendan Gibbons. The score was 17-9 as they entered the fourth. On Iowa's first possession of the quarter, Marcus Coker scored his second touchdown of the day on a 13 yard run. Michigan's offense remembered how to play on the following possession. Eight plays and 57 yards later, Denard threw a pass to Kevin Koger for a touchdown. 

With 2:15 left in the game, Michigan received the ball at their own 18 yard line, and would have to march the length of the field. On the first play of the drive, Vincent Smith ran for 11 yard, but continued on after his knee did not touch the ground. He thought that he scored the touchdown that would potentially tie the game. Upon further review, Smith's elbow touched the ground, and Michigan would have to drive from their own 29. With 16 seconds left, the Wolverines got down to the Iowa 3 yard line and called their final time out. On first down, Denard lofted a ball in the direction of Junior Hemingway that fell incomplete. On second down, Denard found Hemingway in the back of the end zone for what should have been a touchdown. Hemingway's knee hit the ground before the ball went out of bounce, yet the Big Ten officiating crew called the pass incomplete on the field, and the booth agreed (Watch the video to decide for yourself). On third down, Denard ran away from a blitzing linebacker before throwing a pass toward Vincent Smith who could not make the diving catch. Finally, on fourth down, Roy Roundtree got mugged on a slant, yet no pass interference was called, and the game ended Iowa 24 - Michigan 16. 

When did we last win?
In the midst of the 2006 undefeated streak, the Hawkeyes entered the Big House with a 5-2 record. Lloyd Carr decided to give the ball to Mike Hart early and often. Hart ended the game with 31 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Those two touchdowns plus two field goals from Garrett Rivas gave Michigan more than enough points to come away with the 20-6 victory.

What do they look like?
The Pittsburgh SteelersCompare. In 1979, Hayden Fry (Iowa's Head Coach) wanted to have his team dress like champions so they would play like champions. He gained permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers to use their uniform design, and Iowa has worn them since. Supposedly they wore this monstrosity in 1995.

Do they have good coaches?
When Hayden Fry retired in 1998, Iowa needed their first new Head Coach in ten years. Then University of Iowa President, Mary Sue Coleman, hired Kirk Ferentz for the job. Ferentz played linebacker at the University of Connecticut, and went straight into coaching. He was an Offensive Line Coach in the NFL for both the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens from 1993 to 1998. As Head Coach of the Hawkeyes he has a 100-73 record, lead the team to Conference Championships in 2002 and 2004, and is currently in the midst of a three year bowl win streak.

Have they won a National or Big Ten Championship?
The Hawkeyes were National Champions in 1958 with a 8-1-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. They have won 11 Big Ten Championships including five since Hayden Fry took over as Head Coach in 1978.

Where do they play?
In 1929, the University of Iowa opened Iowa Stadium, which has since been renamed Kinnick Stadium. Kinnick Stadium is named after Nile Kinnick, the only Heisman Trophy winner in Iowa history. The most interesting thing about their stadium is the away team locker room, which is pinkVery pink.

Do they have any game day traditions?

  • Back In Black Entrance: Back In Black by AC/DC plays as video of the Hawkeyes walking down the tunnel appears on the screens. 
  • I-O-W-A Chant: The four corners of the stadium chant out Iowa letter by letter. This occurs after every touchdown. 
  • Kinnick Statue: Iowa players all touch the statue of Nile Kinnick before they enter the stadium. 
  • Kinnick Heisman Speech: Before every game, Nile Kinnick's Heisman acceptance speech is played over the loud speakers. 
  • Magic Bus: Tailgating location. 
  • Hawkeye Victory Polka: Played after every Hawkeye victory. 

Do they have a goofy mascot?
Herky the Hawk was created in 1948, and started appearing at football games in 1959. Although Iowa has had the same uniform since 1979, Herky has never worn it. He wears a shirt with an I on it, yet has the team's football pants and a helmet. Before every game, Herky surfs into the stadium, carried by four cheerleaders. He then plants a Hawkeye flag in the field. 

Prediction based on everything but football (even though this didn't work last week): Michigan 35 - Iowa 13. 

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