We’re stuck in an Illinois vortex. Not an actual nickname for a tornado, more like some listless beatdowns against a program that should be a bitter rival to Iowa and is not.
Let’s break out of that. There’s a Marshal Yanda mention here, so let’s go to the story where his mom told me she used to take him to Theisen’s and tell him if you don’t study, this is it for you.
(See feature below)
Quote: “I think we were going forward today,” Brian Ferentz said. “We went the other way last week.”
When Ferentz was a center for Iowa, he didn’t pull punches. He still doesn’t as the offensive coordinator. Will he as the head coach (just go with it for this)? Heck yes, he will pull punches.
Why No. 105? — WR Ed Hinkel — we’ve been over the fact that he made the most out of his body and skills — scored on a reverse handoff.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2005
IOWA CITY — A week after, they’re singing. They’re blocking, hitting, scoring. They might even give out an MVP or two.
They did none of this coming out of Ohio State last week.
During the locker room happy time, the Hawkeyes ripped and clapped through the school song faster than they ripped and rumbled through Illinois.
Wide receiver Ed Hinkel scored two touchdowns and running back Albert Young rushed for 102 yards during Iowa’s 35-7 victory Saturday over the Fighting Illini before 70,585 fans at Kinnick Stadium.
The victory gave the Hawkeyes a school-record 21 consecutive home victories, a streak dating to 2002. Last week, the Hawkeyes (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten) were held to negative-9 yards rushing and sang the blues after a numbing beatdown in Columbus.
Saturday, the Hawkeyes pounded out 301 yards rushing, 476 yards total offense, and knocked out Illinois (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) with an offense that clipped and buzzed with precision.
They sang the fight song. Not as much precision — it lasted about 15 seconds — but, hey, it was singing and not mourning.
“You win and there’s singing,” center Brian Ferentz said. “There was plenty of singing today. There was even some dancing, too.”
When they lose, nobody gets the MVP plaque. The glass case with the Ohio State helmet in the Iowa football complex sits empty.
The glass case with the Illinois helmet will be filled with game MVPs. You can probably start with the offensive line. Quarterback Drew Tate did.
“If you had to pick a player of the game, it’d be the offensive line,” said Tate, who completed 17 of 21 for 175 yards, two TDs and an interception. “I thought they did a great job run blocking, pass blocking, everything.”
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz tinkered with the O-line, switching left guard Marshal Yanda to right tackle and moving right tackle Mike Jones to left guard. The move paid dividends during Iowa’s first drive when Jones pinned linebacker J Leman on the inside to spring Young for a 36-yard gain to Illinois’ 16 yard-line.
Running back Marcus Schnoor finished the drive with a 3-yard run for a 7-0 lead. More than anything else, Iowa’s O-line brought attitude Saturday, mean, nasty, hand-under-the-facemask attitude.
“We didn’t hit back last week. We did this week,” said Yanda, who spent half the spring at right tackle before settling in at guard this fall. “This feels a whole lot better.”
Young gets his name on the yellow card that sits in the glass case next to the orange Illinois helmet. The sophomore was Iowa’s offense in the first quarter. He racked up 99 total yards — 58 rushing and 41 receiving — while the Hawkeyes sprinted to a 14-0 lead.
Young also led Iowa receivers with four for 51 yards. Iowa hasn’t had a running back lead the team in receiving in who knows how long.
“I think if we don’t (find ways to get Young the ball), you guys probably ought to ask me to get my head examined,” Coach Ferentz said. “He’s really emerged as a go-to guy, if you will. He’s one of our most productive football players.”
Certainly Hinkel deserves MVP consideration. The senior’s first TD came the unconventional way, at least for a wide receiver. He took a reverse handoff from Young and finished a 20-yard run with an amazing leap over Illinois cornerback Sharriff Abdullah from about the 5, somersaulting over the pylon and into the end zone.
“We actually kind of scouted for that,” said Hinkel, who made his first — and maybe only — running play a memorable one. “We saw that their DBs liked to go low. I thought I might as well take a chance.”
A week after total shutdown at Ohio State, the Hawkeyes converted 6 of 9 third downs and scored all four times they penetrated Illinois’ 20.
“I think we were going forward today,” Brian Ferentz said. “We went the other way last week.”
Defensive end Kenny Iwebema will have to fight punter Andy Fenstermaker for the special teams MVP. Iwebema blocked two field goals, tying a school record.
Fenstermaker averaged 44.0 yards on three punts, staying right with Illinois’ all-Big Ten punter Steve Weatherford.
Defensive MVP might take some film study. Against a spread, option, no-huddle, fast-break offense, the Hawkeyes surrendered 374 total yards, 141 rushing and 233 passing.
Illinois quarterback Tim Brasic completed 32 of 44 for 233 yards, a TD and an interception. During a scoring drive that pulled Illinois to 21-7 with 4:57 left in the third quarter, Brasic completed 9 of 9 for 71 yards.
The big one was a 40-yard bomb to freshman wideout Kyle Hudson, who made a diving grab after free safety Charles Godfrey was called for pass interference.
“Both offenses were going up and down the field,” Illini Coach Ron Zook said. “The problem was they were getting points and we weren’t.”
There might be red flags in the yardage, but linebacker Abdul Hodge quickly points to the scoreboard.
“They scored seven points,” said Hodge, who led Iowa with 18 tackles and two tackles for loss. “Anytime you can keep a team out of the end zone, you’re successful.
“But we’ve got to go back to the film and be honest with ourselves. There are a lot of plays out there that we wish we would’ve played better and wish we would’ve tackled better.”
If they give an MVP for frank assessment, Hodge gets it.
Marshal Yanda feature from 2006
Hawk dream come true
IOWA CITY — Growing up on a farm, he pitched calf condos, pitchforking wet, heavy, stinky manure and cornstalks.
He fished, hunted and partied in high school. Mom didn’t gloss over the partying, using the terms “roadhouse,” “outlaw” and “a lot of crazy stuff.”
He shared a dorm room with five football players, a puny air conditioner and a frying pan for a summer at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City.
Somewhere among the calf poop, parties and community college, Marshal Yanda found his way to a dream.
Dream? Bit of an overstatement, maybe? Aren’t we going a little overboard here?
Well, Ruth Yanda skipped the Yankee Dirt Track Classic at the Farley Speedway on Sept. 15, 1984, and gave birth to Marshal. The first thing on his head was the ubiquitous blue cap that goes on all baby boys’ heads.
Then he weighed in at 9 pounds, 9 ounces. Off went the blue cap and on went a little Hawkeyes hat.
“They said he’s going to play for Hayden someday,” Ruth said.
Ruth and John Yanda raised Marshal on a dairy farm northwest of Anamosa. A little more than 40 minutes from Iowa City, the Hawkeyes rule here.
Marshal’s first Halloween costume was an Iowa football uniform, his sister Katie’s an Iowa cheerleader outfit. So dream isn’t an understatement.
It just stayed a dream a little longer for Yanda.
Coming out of Anamosa High School, Marshal’s athletics resume was fine. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound offensive lineman earned first-team all-district as a junior and senior and was a three-year letterwinner playing line on both sides of the ball.
He showed the good feet Division I-A linemen need to show with two letters in basketball. He got a call from Iowa State. Got letters from Iowa. The athletics were OK, the academics another story.
He didn’t have the grades or the ACT score to go D-I, so he had to look into juco.
“I started my senior year (at Anamosa) to get better grades, but it was already too late,” Marshal said. “I ruined it my first three years. I was young and didn’t have in my mindset that I needed good grades to get where I wanted to be.”
Now don’t take this as his being rowdy, though there was some partying, grounding and lecturing. Marshal was raised on a farm and has a huge love for fishing and hunting. He’s a gear guy who knows his way to Cabelas in Owatonna, Minn., and Prairie du Chien, Wis.
He has one of those underwater cameras for ice fishing. He just finished building a duck blind for his boat, which he’s had since he was 16.
“He brings an atmosphere that makes everything fun,” fellow Iowa offensive lineman Mike Elgin said. “He’s a fun guy to be around. He makes everything fun.
“I think he’s building a duck blind or something like that on his boat. That’s all he talked about until football started. Now he won’t shut up about football.”
When Yanda was 14, he raised chickens so he could save enough money to race Go-Karts at Delaware, something the family did every Saturday night for four years.
As a kid, he went from the wide-open spaces and chasing cats to sitting in a desk at school. That sitting wasn’t easy when the walleyes were biting, the pheasants were flying and the deer were rutting.
“I wanted him to have fun and I wanted him to do something when he was young that he could do when he was older,” Ruth said, “so he wouldn’t sit in those damn bars and drink beer and do all that other idiot stuff that they all do.”
The world was so much bigger than the desk he sat in at school. He was lectured and grounded. But Ruth didn’t want to break his spirit.
“I’m one of those parents, I let them fall,” said Ruth, who has a coaching certificate and coached Marshal and his sister, Katie, in basketball. “I tell and tell them what’s going to happen, then they fall. They might get hurt, but that’s how they learn.”
Marshal ended up at NIACC in the fall of 2003. The first day of practice, he sprawled out on the wet grass with 140 players and heard his coach say 1 percent of them will make it to Division I-A football.
“I just wanted to keep my head down and work hard,” he said. “Also, I had to change my grades. I started going to class every day, doing my homework and actually doing the other end of football, which is also very important.
“I figured I’d go to NIACC and give it one last shot and whatever happens, happens. I’ll play two years and if I don’t go anywhere, well, I got two more years of football.”
Yanda decided to stay in Mason City after his freshman season.
NIACC’s summer conditioning program attracted a grand total of six players. They lived in one dorm. Ruth sent up a frying pan. They lived on eggs and frozen chicken teriyaki dishes.
The air conditioner Marshal installed? Once the coaches found out, they made him take it out. He also had his eye on the edge of town. He took 17 hours of classes that summer.
“He needed to get his associate degree,” Iowa offensive line coach Reese Morgan said. “He did it in a year and a half. He had a plan. He stayed there during the summer and went to summer school. When everyone else was going home seeing their buddies and water skiing, he was there working out.
“He did it his way.”
Junior college football in Mason City is where pitching calf condos comes in handy. Not for the skill, obviously, but for the gumption to see a job through. No matter how onerous and stinky.
“The core values that he has coming into the program, he had before he got here,” Morgan said. “He understands what it is to put in a good day’s work. He knew what toughness was about.
“He wasn’t getting a pity party when he came home. His mom and dad weren’t sitting there saying everything’s going to be OK. Their expectations were pretty damn high for him at home.”
“I wasn’t going to have kids who didn’t know how to work,” Ruth said.
And they weren’t afraid to tweak each other. During a shopping trip to Goodwill, Ruth picked up a Kirkwood Community College sweatshirt for Marshal. It was part necessity and part motivation.
“We called him `Mr. Kirkwood’ for a long time,” she said.
Two games into his freshman season at NIACC, Iowa State called and offered a full ride. That was great, but that wasn’t the dream.
He hand delivered tapes to Iowa City. At first, Iowa said, we’re full on linemen, we’ll call if someone doesn’t come.
On a Friday in November 2004, he had a trip scheduled to Ames. His dream was Iowa, but his goal was Division I-A and that was there for him at Iowa State.
He called Morgan one last time Thursday night.
“Coach Morgan said, `Whoa, Marshal, Kirk’s got to look at your tape,’” Ruth said. Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz saw the tape. The Ames trip never happened.
“We already recruited five linemen,” Morgan said. “I talked to Coach (Ferentz), showed him the tape (Yanda’s sophomore year at NIACC) and he said, `Hey, he’s kind of what we’re looking for.’ When Coach looked at the tape, he wasn’t a tough sell.”
Yanda enrolled at Iowa in January 2005 and made it to spring practice. As a junior last fall, he started all 12 games, the first three at left guard before finding a home at right tackle.
Going into this year, The Sporting News picked him a second-team all-Big Ten tackle and named him the 18th-best tackle in the nation.
“When we recruited him, our thought process was, `We’ll get him on campus, get him in here in the spring to learn the position, redshirt him and we’ll have a guy for two years,’” Morgan said. “But when he showed up, he brought his tempo, his physicalness, his toughness. He brought that extra level to us. We just needed that badly.”
Ruth and Katie have been an incredible support system during Marshal’s two years in Iowa City.
Ruth, 47, who works third shift at ADM, lives on Olive Court, pretty much a punt from Kinnick Stadium. Katie is a senior at Iowa. She’s been like a “second mom” to Marshal, Ruth said.
“She has helped him tremendously,” Ruth said. “Feeding him, housing him last summer, scheduling classes, talking to his adviser. Katie has been there for him his entire life.”
Katie, 23, and Marshal, 21, will graduate together this spring. Mom, of course, is off-the-charts proud. She calls the trio a “triangle.”
Before two-a-days this month, they posed for a picture.
“I told them, ‘These are the people we care about and take care of,’” Ruth said. “I told Marshal I’m so proud you made the decision to become the man you are today.
“I’ve gone hunting and fishing with him a lot. We sit and talk. He said once, `Thanks mom. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be where I’m at.’
“I said, ‘No Marshal.’ I’ve had so many wake-up calls with him. I’d lecture and scream and holler. I said, ‘Marshal, I can do all that, but if you wouldn’t have made the decision to become the person you are and to take school seriously and to go to NIACC, it wouldn’t have made a difference.’
“‘You ultimately had to make the decision. You kept up with your dreams.’”
They talk every day. They still fish and hunt when they can.
Last December, they went for an ice fishing trip on Lake Macbride. The ice was iffy. Marshal took the first few steps.
“I said, `If you fall in, I figure I’m going to go in after you, because I’m not going to be able to pull you out,’” Ruth said.
You just know Marshal was in good hands.