Three cool things:
1. I hope you enjoy the lede. I know, I know, sometimes I slide into references that I really should’ve let go. Sorry, I know, I know. We are who we are at this point.
The detective thing just popped into my head. It seemed fairly obvious. When the Hawkeyes do have a pair of good players at the same position, I love asking them who’s Batman and who’s Robin. For the record, no one ever cops to being Robin.
Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood were Batman and Batman on this day.
2. There was a lot to unpack in this one. After true freshman Brandon Wegher did some nice stuff, Kirk Ferentz admitted on the topic of playing true freshmen, “I have to get over some stuff.”
Totally forgot about OT Bryan Bulaga being out for this one. It was Riley Reiff’s first start. Here’s a story that probably will get me in trouble, but I’ve been around so long that I can always pretend that I didn’t know what I was doing.
In the postgame, I requested and talked with Reiff. We’re talking out in the hallway. Ferentz wanders by. He’s just won at Iowa State. He’s in a pretty good mood.
He caught Reiff’s eye and stopped.
“Wait, they wanted to talk with you, Riley?” Ferentz said. “Holy [bleep].”
Maybe a little foreshadowing from Ferentz. Riley was great at football, but he was like interviewing a hungry bear. My best convo with him was after the 2011 Insight Bowl. We sat next to each other at the airport. He was pondering going pro. I told him, you really should do that. You’re more than ready. I don’t think he was looking for an answer. I think he had already decided.
3. After seeing the “Sash is Trash” T-shirts, I wrote the story in the section below a few weeks later. I think if you knew Tyler Sash, this was the guy you knew and had to love.
Quote: “I’m probably the Ben Stiller. He’s more of the Owen Wilson type,” said Greenwood as he pointed at Sash.
Note: Iowa has won 10 of the last 15 in the ISU series including three straight. This game will be the Hawkeyes’ premier non-conference matchup until 2023. The Big 12 isn’t going anywhere. The Iowa State rivalry isn’t, either.
Why No. 101? — This probably isn’t the first ranked game from 2009, but it’s probably close. That season ended with arguably Iowa’s biggest bowl victory since the 1950s. You seemed to love that tightrope season and you really should. It was nuts.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2009
AMES — It was a little “Starsky and Hutch.”
Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood slid over the hood of their red sports car in their leather jackets and busted everything in the air Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.
It was a little ‘70s detective show. It was a little of the 2004 movie with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. It was a buddy movie with each star taking a turn in front of the camera.
“I’m probably the Ben Stiller. He’s more of the Owen Wilson type,” said Greenwood as he pointed at Sash.
Starsky and Hutch. Sash and Greenwood. Interception and pick.
”A little bit,” Sash said of the “Starsky and Hutch” reference. “You could say that if you want.”
The veteran safeties led the charge, picking off five passes and setting the table for the Hawkeyes (2-0) to convert six Cyclone turnovers into 21 points in Iowa’s 35-3 rout before 52,089.
Quarterback Ricky Stanzi brushed off two first-half interceptions and finished with a career-high four TD passes. True freshman running back Brandon Wegher wowed with 101 yards on 15 carries, a 1-yard TD and a one-handed catch of a screen pass that pumped life into a sputtering Iowa offense.
The Hawkeyes stretched their legs after running the whole race and then some last week.
“I’m just glad we won,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said simply.
Iowa took a 14-3 halftime lead when it scored after Greenwood tipped a pass to Sash, who ended up with three interceptions. Then to begin the third quarter, Iowa State tailback Alexander Robinson fumbled and quarterback Austen Arnaud was picked by Greenwood, his second.
The Hawkeyes turned both into touchdowns and that was it. The Hawkeyes retained the Cy-Hawk Trophy and won in Ames for the first time since 2003. A 7-3 struggle bloomed into a 28-3 runaway during that late-second and early-third quarter pick, fumble and pick.
”I thought our defense did a good job being aggressive to the football,” Ferentz said, expressing relief. “It was nice to see our offense take advantage of the field position. We’ve not always done a great job with that. It was a good thing to see.”
Ferentz was relieved because last Saturday at about 3 p.m. his team had just blocked two field goals to steal one from Northern Iowa, 17-16, at Kinnick Stadium. He had no idea what was going to happen in Ames, especially after all-Big Ten left offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga was out after being hospitalized with a midweek illness.
Redshirt freshman Riley Reiff replaced Bulaga. And his quarterback’s first-half performance probably didn’t do much for Ferentz’s disposition. Stanzi’s two picks killed drives, including one inside ISU’s 20. “Last Saturday, I was a little worried about where we’d be today,” said Ferentz, who added that Bulaga is close to being full speed. “I’m just thrilled we’re 2-0.”
All Iowa did, almost literally, was sit back and watch Arnaud implode. Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker used some nickel-and-dime packages and mixed in a handful of 3-4 alignments. Mostly, the Hawkeyes sat back in their zone coverage and let the ball come to them.
Arnaud was victimized by tipped passes, two that ended up in Sash’s hands, and some awful throws. Both of Greenwood’s picks were floaters he jumped on. Arnaud was pulled late in the third quarter.
“We go as I go,” said Arnaud, who finished 10 of 22 for 79 yards and four interceptions. “We played terrible.”
Sash’s hat trick of picks tied linebacker Grant Steen’s three against Indiana in 2002 for the Iowa record. He is a certainty for Big Ten defensive player of the week with a stat sheet that had three interceptions, 10 tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
“It’s everybody just doing their job,” said Sash, who led the Hawkeyes to their most interceptions since a 59-0 win over Illinois in 1985. “Things happen for a reason, don’t they?”
The Hawkeyes, who outgained ISU, 426 to 303, have held ISU without a TD for 14 quarters.
After taking a 3-0 lead, ISU tried an onside kick that linebacker Bruce Davis recovered. ISU then went as Arnaud went. All downhill.
“Nobody in the state of Iowa feels worse about this game than Austen Arnaud does,” first-year ISU Coach Paul Rhoads said. “He had a bad day.”
In the other locker room, it was the feel-good buddy flick of the season.
The story behind "Sash is Trash"
Talk to each other at Iowa-Iowa State tailgates. Break down those walls and just have fun.
Civility in a Saturday Storm
IOWA CITY — The dudes in the “Sash is Trash” T-shirts really seemed to want to get at Tyler Sash.
Sash, of course, was the subject of the T-shirt, interceptor of three passes and fresh off the field in Iowa’s lopsided 35-3 victory over Iowa State last fall.
The “Sash is Trash” dudes called him out as he walked toward Iowa’s locker room. Sash noticed and started walking over.
Not good. Someone call Jack Trice Stadium security. Quick.
Wait, they’re smiling, backslapping. Good game, man. We’ll get you next year.
“Yeah, I think people were pretty confused by that whole situation,” Iowa State senior Nick Anderson said.
Actually, the “Sash is Trash” was an old idea. The shirt started showing up when Sash did his thing in football and basketball at Oskaloosa High School. And here it was again, this time at Iowa State.
”We kind of keep telling him that (the ‘Sash is Trash’ theme) just to keep him levelheaded,” said Anderson, 21, an Oskaloosa grad and accounting and finance major at ISU. “Not that he isn’t, but we like to put him in his place a little bit when he’s around all of us from high school.”
Sash might be the Hawkeye who’s most connected with the rivals from Ames.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety has a ton of high school friends at ISU. Dig a little deeper and you find that he played AAU basketball against Iowa State quarterback Austen Arnaud.
Sash and ISU free safety Michael O’Connell, a Cedar Rapids native whose mother and stepfather live just minutes from Sash’s place in Iowa City, played for Martin Bros. AAU basketball team. Arnaud was on the Iowa Select with ISU center Ben Lamaak. Sash and Arnaud roomed together during a few basketball camps.
They split games, from what Arnaud remembers. They do, however, remain friends and stay in contact with a text here and there.
“He’s a good kid,” Arnaud said. “I’ve known Tyler since high school, a long time now. Same with (Iowa free safety Brett) Greenwood. We played on the same Shrine Bowl team. Those Iowa safeties at Iowa don’t miss many tackles.”
You could say all three connected last September. Obviously, not in the way Arnaud would’ve preferred.
It was without debate Arnaud’s worst game in three seasons as ISU’s quarterback. He threw four interceptions, completing just 10 of 22 for 79 yards, no touchdowns and logged an efficiency rating of 39.23. He spent a lot of the fourth quarter watching from the sidelines after he was pulled in favor of Jerome Tiller.
Iowa State had six turnovers that Iowa turned into 21 points. Story of the game.
“I don’t carry (that) as motivation,” Arnaud said. “I always think about it as a negative thing. I played terrible, had four interceptions. I don’t want to do that this year, but it’s something I can’t have hanging over my head.”
Sash had three interceptions, and Greenwood had two. Pretty much a dream day for safeties.
Sash’s knack for interceptions actually kicked in at the end of 2008, when he picked off four passes in the last four games, including a pair in Iowa’s Outback Bowl victory over South Carolina. With the hat trick against ISU, Sash had an incredible stretch of nine picks in nine games between the end of ‘08 and beginning of ‘09.
“I think maybe it was riding the wave a little bit,” said Sash, who began 2010 with 11 career interceptions. “Preparation puts me in those positions and I try to take advantage of every play I make. It just so happened I made a few plays here and there. I wouldn’t say it wasn’t luck, I’d just say the preparation was there and the opportunities arose and I took advantage.”
Take out the Iowa game and Arnaud had a similarly successful season. He ended with 13 interceptions in 2009, but he also threw 14 TDs, completed 58 percent of his passes, rushed for 561 yards and eight TDs and, the biggie, led the Cyclones to an Insight Bowl victory over Minnesota.
Yes, Arnaud knows, you can’t take out the Iowa game.
ISU Coach Paul Rhoads was asked this week if he believed Arnaud feels as if he has to make amends for last season.
“I’m sure he does and therein lies the challenge,” Rhoads said. “We have to make sure we have a quarterback prepared to play his best game and not to press and make amends, as you say. He just has to go out and perform and execute as one of 11.”
Sash and Arnaud still text, though not lately.
“In a time like this, your sides are aligned and defined, so ...” Arnaud said.
Sash said, “It’s never anything personal, just, ‘Good luck for the rest of the season.’ That’s how I’d expect them to be if they came out on the winning end.”
You can have this rivalry without the vitriol?
”People always say, when Iowa’s on, I’ll cheer for them as long as they’re not playing Iowa State,” Anderson said. “I never really believed that. But with him there, I’ll actually cheer for Iowa when it’s not playing Iowa State.”
The Iowa-Iowa State game presents a problem.
“I still cheer for Iowa State to win, but I hope he does well,” Anderson said, “if that’s possible, I guess.”
In a perfect world, sure. But no, that’s just not how it works.