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Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has 143 wins under his belt at the University of Iowa, one away from the all-time record.

The Gazette will count down each win, as ranked by writer Marc Morehouse.


Kirk Ferentz's 100th victory as a head coach was a white-knuckle ride in Indiana

No. 16 Iowa 18, Indiana 13 | Nov. 6, 2010

Indiana's Damarlo Belcher drops a pass in the end zone in front of Iowa's Brett Greenwood on fourth down late in the game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. (The Gazette)
Indiana's Damarlo Belcher drops a pass in the end zone in front of Iowa's Brett Greenwood on fourth down late in the game Saturday, Nov. 6, 2010 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. (The Gazette)

Three cool things:

1. There were a couple of different “100-win milestones” for Kirk Ferentz. The one I remember was 2012 at Michigan State. We’ll get to that one, but I’m pretty sure that was Ferentz’s 100th win at Iowa. I remember his brother was there for that one. Ferentz’s brother will make at least one more appearance here (chance meeting in the Michigan parking lot in either 2002 or 2006).

This one I totally forgot, Ferentz’s 100th victory as a head coach. I remember this game probably for the reasons you remember this game.

It’s been eight years now, but if you’re still hung up on why 2010 wasn’t outstanding for Iowa, you should be. That was a great team that, for whatever reason — more off-field than on, IMO — didn’t hit the way we all thought it might.

Iowa was the house cat that found a mouse and didn’t know what to do with it. The mouse eventually crawled on top of the cat and had it where it wanted it, but the cat thought, “Wait, I’m a cat.”

Ricky Stanzi hit Marvin McNutt for a late TD. And then poor Demarlo Belcher and that play.

I did appreciate how Iowa players handled that. Belcher dropped victory. Instead of rubbing his nose in it, most Hawkeyes just wiped their brows and walked out of Memorial Stadium sheepishly.

Iowa just isn’t disaster proof. It never has been. Two of the biggest bombs of Hayden Fry’s era were at Tulsa and at Hawaii.

Iowa just isn’t disaster proof.

2. Do you guys think sometimes the game didn’t start for Stanzi until there was some adversity?

I think we kind of saw the first signs of that in Illinois 2008. Stanzi had three turnovers that led to 10 Illinois points. Iowa’s defense kept it in the game, but a late, frantic field goal hung the only “L” the Hawkeyes would take from Oct. 11, 2008 to Nov. 7, 2009.

Obviously, Stanzi mostly came through. I guess he just liked the challenge.

Forget “Love it or leave it,” know Stanzi for this thought. This was quintessential Stanzi.

“Things were going bad for 3 1/2 quarters, you have to step up and make a play,” Stanzi said. “That’s all that really matters.”

Twenty-eight wins and three bowl victories. Stanzi came through more than he didn’t.

3. This 2010 Indiana team ended up at five wins and failed to qualify for a bowl. (Five-win teams shouldn’t be in bowl games. I’m all for more bowls, but you have to be this tall for the ride.)

Last season, the Hoosiers lost 27-20 to Michigan in overtime. This very Belcher drop got a mention in the game story.

This is the line between W and L in a lot of games for Iowa.

The Hawkeyes live at the nexus of Belcher drop and McNutt’s “7 got 6.” I can see why you guys get nuts sometimes.

Quote: “I was devastated, but I knew it when he hit the ground. I blew right through devastation.” — Tyler Sash

Note: I’m sorry to have to report this, but Indiana has been a tough out for Iowa and I expect the Hawkeyes’ trip there on October 13, 2018 to be something like 2010.

Indiana has a new coach (defensive-minded Tom Allen), another tweak of Memorial Stadium and is going to go ahead and stock the football program.

Memorial Stadium is an environment that can lull an opponent to sleep. Word travels. If it’s a good game in the second half and the Hoosiers have a shot, suddenly Memorial has some people and some life.

Why No. 100? — Iowa woke up just in time against a five-win team in 2010. After escaping, the Hawkeyes went on to lose three straight. So, yeah, that was a good Iowa team that struggled that day at Indiana, but what else was it? The Wisconsin fake punt kind of sucked all the energy out of 2010.


Game story from 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — That was a nightmare.

That was a nightmare Damarlo Belcher will live for a long, long time. That was a nightmare the Iowa Hawkeyes lived until Indiana’s last-gasp pass on fourth-and-10 with 28 seconds left slipped through Belcher’s fingers, down his hip and finally to the crimson in the Iowa end zone.

That was a nightmare for both teams. The Hawkeyes won the luxury of waking up just before their Big Ten title hopes went splat.

The No. 15 Hawkeyes (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) survived Indiana (4-5, 0-5), 18-13, before 42,991 fans Saturday at Memorial Stadium. Strip away all the penalties, red zone frustration for the Hawkeyes and 57 or so minutes of constipated Big Ten football, and it came down to Iowa’s desperation pass working and Indiana’s slipping through Belcher’s fingers.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz notched his 100th victory as a head coach. The Hoosiers dropped their 10th straight Big Ten game.

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi put a big bandage on a sluggish performance with a 52-yard TD pass to Marvin McNutt with 2:50 left, giving Iowa the 18-13 edge.

Freshman running back Marcus Coker, playing for injured starter Adam Robinson, fueled the Hawkeyes with 129 yards on 22 carries, marking the third straight season Iowa has had a freshman (Jewel Hampton, Brandon Wegher) rush for more than 100 yards against the Hoosiers.

Clearly, this was a bullet dodged. Iowa got a police escort to the Bloomington airport. It might have wanted to keep it a little more quiet before fate realized its cruelty.

“When you play a 12-game season, when you play in a conference that’s competitive, when you play on the road,” Ferentz said, “if you think things like this aren’t going to happen, you’re a fool. It’s how you handle these kinds of games, can you come out on the right side?

“If you do, you have a chance to have a good season. If you don’t, then it’s all the ‘what-if game.’”

With 28 seconds left, Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell, the pocket collapsing around his feet, floated a prayer to the middle of Iowa’s end zone. Belcher had it, but he never really had it.

The call stood up under review. This game probably won’t, but the call did.

”When I heard the crowd yelling, I was like, oh (bleep),” Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn said. “But when they started booing, it was a sigh of relief.”

Iowa strong safety Tyler Sash saw the whole thing from the end zone, where Chappell threaded the ball over linebacker Jeremiha Hunter and just in front of safety Brett Greenwood. Sash saw the ball go where it was supposed to go and then saw it tumble to the turf. He didn’t need the review. He knew.

“I was devastated, but I knew it when he hit the ground,” Sash said. “I blew right through devastation.”

Indiana’s desperation slipped through Belcher’s fingers. He didn’t conduct interviews after the game.

“It was close,” said Chappell, whose view of the play came from the ground after getting hit. “I didn’t really see it what happened. Obviously it was close.”

It was close.

”My heart dropped,” Hunter said. “I thought he had it for a second.”

So did everyone.

“When he hit the ground, I thought, ‘Awwww,’” Iowa wideout Marvin McNutt said. “Then, when I saw he dropped it, I was like, ‘Awwww yes.’”

Iowa’s desperation worked.

Iowa’s offense didn’t work much. Before Stanzi-to-McNutt, the Hawkeyes took four trips inside Indiana’s 20-yard line and left with three Mike Meyer field goals (23, 27, 27 and a 22-yard miss).

Then, Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde broke up a pass on third-and-3 at Iowa’s 42 with 3:42 left and the switch flipped for Stanzi with first down at Iowa’s 12.

First play, down and out to wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos for 21 yards. Second play, sideline route to Johnson-Koulianos for 15 yards. Third play, down and out and up to McNutt for a “let’s get on the bus and get out of here” 52-yard TD.

Iowa went 88 yards in three plays after making 88 inches look like a mile most of the day.

Between red-zone futility and penalties (nine for 65 yards), the Hawkeyes looked nothing like the team that beat then-No. 5 Michigan State just last weekend. And then they needed to be that team and they were.

“Things were going bad for 3 1/2 quarters, you have to step up and make a play,” Stanzi said. “That’s all that really matters.”

He’s right. It is all that really matters.