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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.


Sometimes, Iowa's next game is bigger and that was certainly the case here

No. 14 Iowa 24, Illinois 7 | Sept. 23, 2006

Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki celebrates as he crosses the goal line for a touchdown during a game against Illinois at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006, in Champaign, Ill. (The Gazette)
Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki celebrates as he crosses the goal line for a touchdown during a game against Illinois at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006, in Champaign, Ill. (The Gazette)

Three cool things:

1. Totally coping to one of those “look-ahead” gamers. In fact, this is the quintessential one of those.

This was a dreadful Illinois team, but it was one that eventually would bloom into a Rose Bowl participant and beater of Ohio State. The Illini weren’t there yet.

Iowa unleashed a core of pretty good players and things fell the Hawkeyes’ way.

You really can’t blame me for going that direction. I mean, the next week was No. 1 Ohio State. And this was back in the “old days,” when TV and schools had to agree on night games in April. How ridiculous was that? It’s better now with the 12-day window. As a fan and viewer, you want that flexibility.

So, No. 1 Ohio State at Kinnick in a night game? I think most of the Hawkeyes’ parents left this game at Memorial Stadium in the third quarter. (Kidding.)

2. When’s the next College GameDay visit to Iowa City? Last year, there was some talk the Ohio State game might get that treatment. It didn’t work out. Obviously, Iowa being in that discussion means it’s winning.

This year? If Iowa wins all three of its non-conference games and Wisconsin is impressive in its first three, maybe the Badgers in Iowa City could get that treatment. But, more likely, the game comes too early (Big Ten opener on Sept. 22).

Beyond the Badgers? I don’t see GameDay making it to Iowa City in 2018. I’m sorry.

3. There’s really nothing else to see here.

The Big Ten used to require Iowa to bus to Champaign. That changed around 1999 or 2000. That was one of the things Kirk Ferentz changed because I think maybe he thought it was a little Mickey Mouse. You can’t fly if it’s a four-hour drive, what’s the big deal about five? The other thing was running away from Reebok and into the loving arms of Nike.

I used to ask the gear-brands question probably too much. Ferentz would look at me like, “What about the football?” I think he started asking that in 2001. I kid, I kid.

Quote: There was a GameDay question or two.

“This is potentially going to be a six-ring circus instead of a three-ring circus,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We don’t get a lot of six-ring circuses, so we’re going to have to talk about a few things.”

Note 1: Remember when I tried to be a real smart guy and declared the Iowa-Minnesota rivalry dead? I’m not going to make that mistake again, but ... Iowa has won eight of the last nine against Illinois.

Tate was 3-0 against the Illini, going 58 of 83 for 608 yards with five TDs and three interceptions.

Note 2: This Illinois team would end up in the Rose Bowl the very next season. Iowa still beat the Illini. We’ll get to that one.

Why No. 106? — Shawn Eichorst was Nebraska’s AD for a short period. He was run off after deciding that Nebraska was done with the Black Friday tradition and doing so without telling anyone Nebraska. Good for Nebraska for having a say in stopping stupid.

But going back to the 2014 Iowa game, Eichorst fired Bo Pelini, the sultan of nine-win seasons, and then said something for the annals.

“ ... in the final analysis, I had to evaluate where Iowa was. We weren’t playing for a conference championship and neither was Iowa. I have great respect for Iowa. It’s a great institution and a wonderful football program. But in the final analysis, their record was where it was and ours was where it was. Fair enough?”

Really, what the heck is the Nebraska AD saying about Iowa during a news conference announcing he just fired the coach of the school the reporters, you know, actually cover?

Anyway, Eichorst left us with that. And that’s where the Big Ten West should be with Illinois.


Game story from 2006

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Now it’s just a matter of location.

Hubbard Park or somewhere closer to Kinnick Stadium?

Chris, Lee and Kirk will be there. Stop by and say hello with a couple thousand of your closest friends and that kooky guy with the Washington State flag.

The No. 14 Iowa Hawkeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) did their part Saturday afternoon, punching out Illinois (1-3, 0-1), 24/7, before 43,006 fans at Memorial Stadium.

After a sluggish first quarter, the Hawkeyes blitzed the Fighting Illini with three touchdowns in a four-minute span of the second quarter. Running back Damian Sims scored on a 1-yarder at 5:55. Running back Albert Young scored on a 6-yarder at 2:57.

One play after safety Miguel Merrick picked off a Tim Brasic pass, quarterback Drew Tate hit tight end Tony Moeaki for a 35-yarder and a 21-0 lead with 1:47 left in the second.

Cue the “College GameDay” theme. A formal announcement won’t be made until later Sunday or Monday, but ESPN has been talking to Iowa for more than a week on what would be “GameDay’s” first stop in Iowa City since Ohio State ‘96.

An Iowa official said Saturday that the popular pregame show just needed to see the Hawkeyes and No. 1 Ohio State win Saturday. The Buckeyes (4-0) sealed the deal with a 28-6 victory over Penn State.

The only thing up in the air was location. ESPN wants something close to Kinnick. Iowa pointed toward Hubbard Park, a nice green spot by the Iowa Memorial Union that wouldn’t eat up parking spots at Kinnick.

Wherever “GameDay” does its schtick, the national spotlight is turned on Iowa City and the university.

These are the klieg lights, this is the close-up.

“I don’t know about `GameDay,’” quarterback Drew Tate said. “But I do know it’s a night game, it’s ABC and everyone is going to be watching this game.

“It’s huge for the state, it’s huge for Iowa football and it’s going to be big for a lot of players on this team to get some national (attention).”

That begs the question, will “GameDay” analyst Lee Corso wear the Herky head or pick Ohio State?

Stay tuned.

“This is potentially going to be a six-ring circus instead of a three-ring circus,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We don’t get a lot of six-ring circuses, so we’re going to have to talk about a few things.”

Iowa’s biggest week, arguably, since Michigan ‘85 will begin with an injury inventory. Several Hawkeyes came out of Saturday’s game. Backup safety Devan Moylan seemed to be the most serious with a strained left hamstring. Defensive end Kenny Iwebema suffered a shoulder injury and left the field with his right arm in a sling. He indicated he was OK.

Center Rafael Eubanks (right knee sprain), left offensive tackle Dace Richardson (right knee) and free safety Marcus Paschal (right hamstring) left the game. Young left the game in the third quarter. Wide receiver Andy Brodell (shoulder sprain) didn’t see the field. Paschal returned after his backup, Moylan, got hurt.

“I’m 22 years old,” Paschal said. “I’ve got a lot more licks in this body.”

Only defensive end Alex Kanellis is out for Ohio State. Kanellis had an appendectomy in a Champaign hospital during the third quarter Saturday.

Other than that, they’re fine. Nope, forgot defensive tackle Mitch King, who limped off in the last minutes with what looked to be a muscle thing in his left leg.

“At that point, you are thinking, `Jeez, how many of these guys are going to be affected next week,’” Ferentz said. “We’re not good enough to play anybody short-handed. Hopefully, that’s not going to be the case big picture-wise.”

Besides Moylan, Ferentz said the other injuries didn’t have him “alarmed or concerned.”

Iowa went into Saturday’s game with the worst turnover margin in the Big Ten, at minus-5. The Hawkeyes turned it around with oopmh, picking off four Illinois passes, including three off freshman quarterback Juice Williams.

Iowa has had two turnovers, a fumble and interception, overturned by replay. The turnovers turned into 10 points for Iowa.

A 12-yard Illinois punt set up Iowa’s first score and Iowa’s fourth consecutive victory over the Illini, the longest streak by either school in the rivalry’s 67 games.

Cornerback Adam Shada had two interceptions. Merrick and Moylan each had one.

“You feel like it’s going to be a matter of time before you get some (turnovers),” Merrick said. “But when they don’t, you start to wonder.”

Tate took the blame for Saturday’s slow start. Iowa had just two first downs, 8 yards rushing and punted three times in the first. The Hawkeyes have scored 10 points in the first quarter this season. The Hawkeyes punted on five of their six second-half possessions.

Ferentz said the running game is a problem. Iowa gained 154 yards, but averaged just 3.7 yards on 42 carries.

“We haven’t hit our stride,” said Tate, who threw his 50th career TD pass to Moeaki. “We’ve been close, but we weren’t even close today.”

They’ve got a week to find their stride. “GameDay” is coming. Chris, Lee and Kirk. The guy with the Washington State flag, too.

“It’s little weird when Ohio State’s playing Penn State and you see an Auburn flag in the back,” Tate said. “There’s Washington State, too. It’s a little weird.”

It’s a little weird six-ring circus starting right now. And the Hawkeyes are the main attraction.