Three cool things:
1. One thing you’re going to notice — if you read all of these and, wow, thanks if you do — is when there’s a middling game in front of me and a ginormous game the next week, I blow through the middling and get right to the Wisconsin.
The other one I really remember is 2006 when the Hawkeyes dispatched a sleepy Illinois team at Memorial Stadium before playing host to No. 1 Ohio State in a night game the next week at Kinnick.
This one had Wisconsin on the horizon. Four Big Ten West Division trophies have been handed out. The Badgers own three and Iowa has one. Iowa-Wisconsin is one of the bigger Plinko chips in the West. It certainly was in 2015. I won’t spoil it for you. And it probably will be for a while, with eyes on Nebraska and Northwestern, two programs, in my opinion, poised to maintain.
2. Josey Jewell showed up. He was just a sophomore linebacker at this point. This was his eighth start. He had nine tackles and a pick six.
Did you have any idea he’d be one of the best linebackers to walk through the place? I didn’t, but you were an idiot if you didn’t see something great was there.
I don’t have it recorded anymore, but in the Pitt postgame in 2014, I asked OL Brandon Scherff about Jewell and toughness. In this game, I want to say it was T.J. Clemmings, who was a star at Pitt before he was a participant with the Vikings, pulling and obliterating Jewell.
What stood out was Jewell jumping off the ground and giving it right back. Scherff loved that. I told him about that play and he immediately said, “He got right back up and gave it right back, didn’t he? That’s how he does it.”
Wish I had that on tape. Anyway, first Jewell moments.
3. This was Dan McCarney’s last game in Kinnick. He was the Mean Green’s head coach. Two weeks later, his team lost 66-7 to Portland State and he was fired.
Where would Iowa State football be without Dan McCarney?
Quote: “The real fun starts now with conference play, where the games truly mean something. Not that this first four didn’t, but we put ourselves in the best position we could after four games and we’re ready to get into conference play.” — OL Austin Blythe
Note: Quarterback C.J. Beathard connected on his first 15 passes for the fastest start in a game since Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson connected on his first 16 passes in a 2011 game.
Why No. 127? — This was the first game from 2015 on the list. 12-0 is going to get respect.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2017
IOWA CITY — You saw that most of Iowa’s starters didn’t play a second in the fourth quarter of the Hawkeyes’ 62-16 victory Saturday over North Texas.
You know that the Hawkeyes (4-0) under Coach Kirk Ferentz are extremely task-centered. That’s really all of football. No one talks about next until next is on the plate.
But hey, it was 62-16 in the fourth quarter. Most of you guys were gone. Heck, a lot of you guys didn’t show up. The crowd of 56,041 at Kinnick Stadium was the smallest since 54,471 showed up for Buffalo in 2003. It was the fourth quarter. You were gone. The starters were out, so, you know, they are human.
Their minds started to drift to next, which happens to be Wisconsin and Camp Randall Stadium and the Big Ten opener.
“As soon as I came out of the game, honestly,” said senior wide receiver Tevaun Smith, whose 81-yard TD reception in the second quarter was Iowa’s longest since TE Jake Duzey went 85 yards at Ohio State in 2013. “I looked at all the other scores from other games on the scoreboard. That had me thinking about the next game. That’s going to be a big game. We’re going to have to be ready for them.”
Saturday was nice. The score was inflated by two pick-sixes by the Iowa defense in the second half (linebacker Josey Jewell went 34 yards and linebacker Bo Bower one-upped him with an 88-yarder), but running back Jordan Canzeri tied a school record with four touchdowns (16, 10, 3 and 1) and quarterback C.J. Beathard connected on his first 15 passes for the fastest start in a game since Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson connected on his first 16 passes in a 2011 game and the Hawkeyes skated against Iowa City native and former Iowa player and Coach Dan McCarney’s North Texas Mean Green (0-3).
Saturday was nice. No one, however, is putting that ribbon up in their bedrooms. On to Wisconsin.
Center Austin Blythe was really, really on to Wisconsin.
“The real fun starts now with conference play, where the games truly mean something,” said Blythe, who admitted that, yeah, he started to think about the Badgers when he went to the bench in the fourth quarter. “Not that this first four didn’t, but we put ourselves in the best position we could after four games and we’re ready to get into conference play.”
Iowa, 4-0 for the fourth time under Ferentz, did have a physical bill to pay. Left tackle Boone Myers left in the first quarter with what looked like a neck injury, perhaps a stinger (he had ice on it while on the bench in the first half). Cornerback Greg Mabin and safety Miles Taylor came out for some early warmups to try to work some leg strains. They sat out a lot of the game.
Beathard finished 18 of 21 for a career-high 278 yards and two TDs. At one point, Beathard was 10 of 10 for 198 yards and two TDs. That’s a pass efficiency of 332.32.
The 62 points tied a Ferentz-era high (vs. Northwestern at Kinnick in 2002). Smith caught four passes for 115 yards, the first 100-yard game of his career. Tight end George Kittle caught his first career TD pass (a 43-yarder). Defensive end Drew Ott, two weeks removed from a dislocated left elbow, had a sack and caused a fumble. Duzey saw his first action since suffering a torn patellar tendon late in spring practice.
OK, kicker Marshall Koehn missed a PAT kick, the first PAT miss for the Hawkeyes since 2010 (a span of 185 straight that started Oct. 30, 2010 vs. Michigan State).
It wasn’t perfect, and the Hawkeyes know and said they will have to be much better at Camp Randall next week. And for the record the number of Hawkeyes who said they already were thinking Wisconsin before North Texas was over was roughly the same who said they hadn’t given the Badgers a thought.
Cliches, of course, are cliches because you hear them all the time. But even Ferentz pulled the curtain back ever so slightly on Wisconsin. He made sure to add that Wisconsin prep begins Monday morning, but he didn’t shy away from the magnitude.
“It’s always exciting to play in conference play, I’m not going to lie about that,” Ferentz said. “There’s just something about that that’s special. ... I don’t think we’ll have any problem motivating our team, because we know it’s going to be a big, big challenge going up there.”
Big, big challenge, big, big Big Ten opener.