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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.

117

Mike Klinkenborg's red eyes and keeping a relative miracle going

Iowa 21, Minnesota 16 | Nov. 10, 2007

Iowa's Matt Kroul (53) celebrates with teammates A.J. Edds (left) and Mike Klinkenborg (40) after stopping Minnesota on third down during the first quarter of their game Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (The Gazette)
Iowa's Matt Kroul (53) celebrates with teammates A.J. Edds (left) and Mike Klinkenborg (40) after stopping Minnesota on third down during the first quarter of their game Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. (The Gazette)
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Three cool things:

1. Mike Klinkenborg’s eyes really freaked me out.

Do you guys remember those shaded contacts? They help people who suffered concussions to deal with light. Klinkenborg suffered a concussion trying to tackle monster Wisconsin running back John Clay. You don’t see those much anymore. I think if you need these, doctors just keep you on the sidelines now. I’m for that. Do that.

After the Hawkeyes got thrashed at Purdue, Klinkenborg came out with laser eyes and predicted a bowl game. He should’ve been right.

It almost happened, but we’ve been over 2007. Deserve had everything to do with it.

2. I really think Tim Brewster is a fantastic college football assistant coach. As a head coach, he’d say stuff that would stop crowds and get everyone to turn and look at each other and say “What?”

“I asked them in the locker room after the game, ‘Who feels like they’ve been stuck in the gut with a searing knife,”’ then first-year coach Brewster said, “and everybody did and I said that’s good. That means we’ve got a chance. We know where we’re going.”

Here’s where I’d have gone with that: Coach? What kind of searing knife? Do they have them at Target? And ‘searing,’ que?

3. We used to spell out “Football Bowl Subdivision.” We also used to wear ... I dunno, acid-wash jeans.

Quote: Usually enjoyed speaking with O-lineman Seth Olsen. He knew when blunt assessment was called for.

“When you look at us, we don’t have much style,” Olsen said. “When we win a game, we tend to win them sloppy. We won sloppy today.”

Note: In 2010, Iowa had won eight of nine against Minnesota. The Gophers had an interim coach. I declared the rivalry dead. I seriously did that. It was a mistake. Rivalries never go away and Minnesota is never leaving Iowa’s schedule.

I declared the rivalry dead and then that interim team beat Iowa 27-24 in 2010. This started the streak of “Ohhhemmgeee, Iowa can’t cover an onside kick.”

Iowa has won four of the last seven. The rivalry is alive. It’s not much to look at some games, but it’s the best traveling trophy in sports and it’s competitive.

It’s not mistakes as much as stupid statements I regret. Thankfully, this is the only one.

Why No. 117? — If an Iowa victory over a Brewster-coached Minnesota team makes the top 50 of this list, it’s only because that 2008 game was so fun for ... well, everyone. Let’s leave it at that.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME

Game story from 2007

IOWA CITY — Three weeks ago after a lifeless shellacking at Purdue, Iowa’s Mike Klinkenborg told anyone who’d listen that the season wasn’t over. And it wasn’t, technically.

Technically. Klinkenborg, eyes ablaze with red contacts to keep the sun out, boldly proclaimed, “We’ve got four weeks left. We can still be a bowl-eligible team. We can still make this a miraculous season.”

The Hawkeyes are one win away from miraculous, depending on how you define the word.

“I think `miraculous’ might be a little strong,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said, “but it’d be a heck of a finish.”

There was nothing miraculous about Saturday’s 21-16 victory over Minnesota before 70,585 fans at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes (6-5, 4-4 Big Ten) basically punched in for a half and milked it over one of the all-time worst Golden Gophers (1-10, 0-7) teams.

Iowa’s offense pumped out three first-half touchdowns, and then went to sleep. Minnesota freshman quarterback Adam Weber directed a 96-yard drive to pull Minnesota to within 21-16 with 1:38 left in the game. But the Hawkeyes avoided any real drama when receiver James Cleveland covered the ensuing onside kick and Iowa’s offense took a knee, arguably its best series of the second half.

Fullback Tom Busch and offensive lineman Seth Olsen won the race to the Floyd of Rosedale trophy on the Minnesota sideline. Arguably, the offense’s most successful rush of the second half.

You get that Iowa’s offense tanked the second half, right?

“When you look at us, we don’t have much style,” Olsen said. “When we win a game, we tend to win them sloppy. We won sloppy today.”

Even though it took a Cleveland tip to tight end Brandon Myers for an 8-yard TD pass, Iowa’s offense scored on three of its five first-half drives. In the second half, it generated four first downs. After 228 yards in the first, Iowa had 68 in the second.

This would be a perfect spot to mention that the Gophers came into the game ranked last in the Football Bowl Subdivision in total defense, giving up a near-NCAA record 548.5 yards a game.

Weber’s 22-yard TD pass to Eric Decker made a game of it late, too late for the Gophers, who’ll try to avoid 0-for-the Big Ten for the first time since 1983 with a home game next week against Wisconsin.

“I asked them in the locker room after the game, ‘Who feels like they’ve been stuck in the gut with a searing knife,”’ first-year coach Tim Brewster said, “and everybody did and I said that’s good. That means we’ve got a chance. We know where we’re going.”

Iowa running back Albert Young rushed for 79 yards and two TDs in the first half. He had 13 yards in the second half. Quarterback Jake Christensen had a decent first half, completing 9 of 13 for 106 yards and a TD. He was off in the second, hitting 5 of 12 for 51 yards and an interception.

And, yes, he’s heard from everyone about not seeing a wide-open Myers on his third-quarter interception.

“In that case, an interception is as good as a punt,” Christensen said. “It was a poor throw, but it worked out for us.”

“Worked out” might be a little strong, but hey, this team sat 3-5 after a dreadful 31-6 loss at Purdue three weeks ago. It might work out.

The Hawkeyes are bowl eligible, but only technically. The Big Ten has 10 bowl eligibles and only seven bowl tie-ins. Someone will likely end up staying home for the holidays. The reality of Iowa’s bowl situation is, beat Western Michigan (3-7) in next week’s season finale at Kinnick Stadium and then wait and hope for the Big Ten to punch its ticket.

Really, there is some degree of “miraculous” to it. This team lost four straight at one point and lived through a 1-4 start to the Big Ten season. After Purdue, “miraculous” might be the only word that fits.

“Yeah, I remember that, and I know no one probably believed it,” Klinkenborg said. “Coach (defensive coordinator Norm) Parker talked about us four games ago, we were in the coffin. They were throwing the dirt on us. Now we’ve dug our way out of it and we see the light.

“We need next week to make sure we’re bowl eligible. That’s the big picture right now.”

Iowa’s bowl possibilities fit somewhere between the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., and the Motor City Bowl in Detroit. But you’ve seen this team. Nothing comes easy, not even a gimme against an archrival down on its luck.

One thing everyone seems to agree on: The Hawkeyes will need seven victories to claim a bowl.

“I think it’s a safe assumption to say that it’s going to take seven wins,” said Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta. “We’d take a bowl wherever we can get it.”

The same could have been said for a first down in the second half. You see ugly, Ferentz sees a team that persevered, one that doubled its lowly total of two Big Ten wins from last season. The Hawkeyes also are steaming toward the finish, with a perfect November also on the table next week.

Last season, Iowa lost six of its last seven games, including four in a row at the end.

“You could argue that last year was more disappointing than anything that we’ve had,” Ferentz said, “because in ‘99 (when Iowa finished 1-10 in Ferentz’s first season) we kind of expected it. Last year was one of those deals.”

This year is another deal. It might not be miraculous, but it beats the heck out of a coffin.