Three cool things:
1. You guys know Todd Brommelkamp. He’s the sportstalker guy at KGYM. He’s one of the sportstalker guys. Todd began his media career at the Daily Iowan. His run happened to coincide with Kirk Ferentz’s early days, including the magical 2002 season.
Todd has opinions. You want him to have opinions. It’s sort of his job. When we’re young, we sometimes fall in love with our opinions and feel the need to be the “voice of everything/smartest guy in the room.” I’m not saying that was the tone with Todd’s piece coming out of this game, but it was an opinion he believed. This also was a season where you really had to look for the dents.
This is Ferentz’s best team. If that rankles you, walk it off, look up in the sky and see my face telling you this. Come to grips. You know I’m right.
This was a sleepy game. The Hawkeyes looked like a young fox or cat or something that didn’t quite know how to kill its prey. The Hawkeyes were aliens and they just landed and were handed shoulder pads. Whatever state of mind the Hawkeyes needed to find their way out of, they had the bodies available and Indiana was very much Indiana football.
So, Todd hung that on the Hawkeyes. Ferentz says it all of the time. You only get 12 of these, get up and get after it.
Maybe Todd knew Dallas Clark was a reader. Maybe not. You really never know. I go four years with players and they never acknowledge that they even know me. Some players want to get to know you. Some players really are farmers at the fence looking to have a chat with the neighbor. Most just want to get through it, and that’s too bad.
Dallas was awesome. We’ll get into more later, but in this instance, Dallas was definitely a reader of Todd’s.
OK, this was Oct. 19, 2002. The Hawkeyes ended up walking through the door at Memorial Stadium (now one of my favorite stadiums in the Big Ten, it’s all you need). Waiting for them the next week was Michigan at the Big House (it still was the Big House then).
So, that went well for the Hawkeyes, as you know.
The postgame area is filling with media types that even the most locked-in assistant coach might recognize. ESPN had Bruce Feldman and, I think, Ivan Maisel in the house. Iowa had just announced itself as a national power in 2002. These media guys guessed right and they were lined up at the buffet.
I’m one of the first ones to sidle (and it really is sidling, I hate it, but it’s true) up to Dallas Clark.
“Where’s Todd Brommelkamp?”
“Uh, I don’t know, maybe over there?”
“What he wrote last week, I’m not having that.”
“Dallas, you just beat the living hell out of Michigan at Michigan, it’s all good, man. Let that one go.”
I ran into Dallas at the Rose Bowl. Nope, no memory of this and who are you again?
Hey, that’s how it goes sometimes. Also, I pretty much went bald between 2002 and 2016.
Thanks for hanging out long enough for Uncle Marc to get that one out. I’ve really enjoyed my friendship with Todd over the years. And Dallas Clark is one of the best stories in college football. If he were a QB, his story would already have been a movie.
(Truth be told, this is how a lot of these conflicts work out. Everyone always wants blood in the postgame after a loss. Does anyone ever get it? Anywhere, I mean?)
2. Is Grant Steen the best OLB of the Ferentz era? There have been good ones. I kind of think of Steen as the OG, kind of showing the rest how it needed to be done. He was fast enough and a tenacious tackler.
In this game, he picked off three passes. Iowa kind of needed him to be that great and he came through. By the way, the three picks in a game is tied with Tyler Sash for the Iowa record (Sash did it at Iowa State in 2009, we’ll get to that one).
3. Indiana QB Gibran Hamdan became a fashion designer and has a website and everything. I think I’ve had friends buy his golf shirts.
Quote: “We had to work hard and bust our butts to get through this game,” Iowa tight end Dallas Clark said. “We were lucky we won. They out-hustled us, outplayed us, outhit us. We have to be thankful we won.”
Note: Nate Kaeding drilled his 18th straight field goal in this one. More on Nate later. If you think about it, he was an extremely important recruit for early Ferentz. Shoot, you don’t even have to think much about it.
Why No. 115? — Todd was right. Iowa shouldn’t have needed that many big plays to dispatch a decent Indiana team. Sorry, Dallas. Still, everything 2002 was magic. Even that Utah State game.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2002
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A stadium half full. A field half filled with Kitty Litter. A half of a football team against a team with half its brain in Ann Arbor.
The Hawkeyes won’t admit preoccupation with next week’s Michigan game. They said they were happy to win Saturday. They said they were lucky to beat Indiana, 24-8, before a Memorial Stadium crowd of 33,458, nearly 20,000 less than capacity on a half-sunny fall day and on Homecoming no less.
Maybe the No. 15 Hawkeyes (7-1, 4-0 Big Ten) were half lucky, or maybe they were half good, which worked against the Hoosiers (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten), who, with 55 scholarship players, use just more than half of the 85 scholarships allowed.
“We had to work hard and bust our butts to get through this game,” Iowa tight end Dallas Clark said. “We were lucky we won. They out-hustled us, outplayed us, outhit us. We have to be thankful we won.”
The Hawkeyes burst to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on their first three possessions. Then they went blank, going scoreless for the next 37 minutes, 20 seconds while Indiana flirted with making it a game.
But the Hoosiers never did make it a game, at least not on the scoreboard. They couldn’t make it a game because they freaked out in the red zone, the generally accepted football term for the real estate inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.
Iowa’s defense held the Hoosiers to 1-for-6 in the red zone, allowing three points, Bryan Robertson’s 23-yard field goal that made it 17-6 with 13:43 left.
Outside linebacker Grant Steen set an Iowa record with three interceptions, all three in the red zone. He snagged one in the end zone, stopping a 16-play, 81-yard drive that might have made it a game and another before halftime, protecting Iowa’s 17-0 lead.
“When you get one as a linebacker, you’re happy and you don’t expect more,” said Steen, who entered the game with one career interception. One he probably remembers for all the wrong reasons, after fumbling it away late against Iowa State last season.
Now he has three good memories.
“For linebackers, they’re all just a blessing,” Steen said. “On a day like this, they were kind of an uplifter for the defense and the offense.”
In the first quarter, the only uplifting Iowa needed was hoisting running back Fred Russell off the ground after touchdowns.
On third-and-6 from Iowa’s 24-yard line, Iowa’s offensive line and fullback Edgar Cervantes stuffed a blitz, giving quarterback Brad Banks forever to find Clark for a 21-yard gain to Iowa’s 45. Seven plays later, Russell crashed in from the 3.
On Iowa’s next possession, junior Nate Kaeding drilled his 18th straight field goal, a 43-yarder, to give Iowa a 10-0 lead.
Next possession, the Hawkeyes needed just three plays to go 52 yards.
First play, Banks hit Clark, who caught five for 82 yards, for an 18-yard gain to Indiana’s 34. Second play, Banks hit a wide-open Mo Brown for a 19-yard gain to the 15. The sort-of third play, Banks looked to wideout Clinton Solomon in the end zone, and Indiana corner Antonio Watson was called for pass interference, giving Iowa a first down at Indiana’s 2.
The real third play, Russell, who rushed 19 times for 100 yards, went in from the 2, raising Iowa’s lead to 17-0 with 4:09 still left in the first quarter.
Then, the Hawkeyes got sloppy.
“We got off to a great start in all phases,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “But at some point in the second quarter, we started making a lot of mental errors and did some things poorly.”
Running back Aaron Greving fumbled inside IU’s 20. Banks threw a fluky interception, bouncing a pass intended for Clark off the back of linebacker Deonte Smith’s helmet and into the arms of cornerback Damien Jones, who returned it to IU’s 27.
The Hoosiers, who entered Saturday with a Big Ten-best six-game home winning streak, didn’t do anything with Banks’ interception, limping off after corner D.J. Johnson broke up quarterback Gibran Hamdan’s third-down pass.
This is where a good team takes back the momentum, puts the game away and smiles and hugs the family while waiting for the bus after a Big Ten road win.
On Iowa’s next play, Jones saw Banks, who completed 11 of 16 for 190 yards, a TD and an interception, fake a handoff, roll out on a naked bootleg and look for a receiver. Jones got sucked in like a crumb up a Hoover, pulling up toward the line of scrimmage, waiting for Banks to run.
That left Brown open. We’re talking no one within an adjoining area code. Jones ran back and caught Brown, but Brown, a 6-foot-2, 210-pounder, brushed him off like dandruff down the left sideline for a 65-yard TD and a 24-6 lead with 11:49 left in the game.
“I was supposed to run a comeback route, but when I saw that corner go, I just wanted to find some open space,” said Brown, who caught two passes for 84 yards. “I was hoping Brad would find me.”
Hamdan put up pretty numbers, completing 21 of 48 for 335 yards.
Tailback Brian Lewis became the first running back to take the Hawkeyes for 100 yards in 11 games — since Wisconsin’s Anthony Davis gained 142 against Iowa last season — finishing with 121 yards on 25 carries.
Wide receiver Courtney Roby caught 11 passes for 198 yards. The Hoosiers outgained Iowa, 481-358. They held the ball nearly 11 minutes longer. They ran 93 plays to Iowa’s 53.
All great numbers, but in the face of three picks, six sacks and 1-for-6 in the red zone, they hold as much credibility as the spray-painted sand that passed for a field Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
“I thought our offense was awful,” IU Coach Gerry DiNardo said. “I don’t care what the stats say. Stats are for losers.”
It is now officially Michigan week.