Three cool things:
1. Remember when former Missouri State coach Terry Allen was going to be the coach of the Hawkeyes?
The Hayden Fry retirement story was my first biggie at The Gazette. I wasn’t the beat writer. I was the Iowa State guy, but I had a brain and could call people on the phone. Mike Stoops? Hello! Is your brother coming to coach the Hawkeyes?
I got the gumption to jump into a Missouri Valley Conference teleconference and Allen said, yes, he did interview for the Iowa gig in 1998. Heck yes, he wanted the Iowa job. Allen is from Iowa City and not just “from” Iowa City, he and his family were immersed in UI sports. His dad, Bob, lettered in football and swimming at Iowa. Nile Kinnick was his fraternity brother. Bob was a defensive line coach under Forest Evashevski and coached Alex Karras.
I’m not equipped to run through how close Allen was to becoming Iowa’s head coach. I don’t think close. But if you ask for theories on this topic, everyone has an opinion and most people are unshakable on their opinions. It’s really kind of amazing.
2. Our first entry into Mark Weisman’s Iowa career. The fullback who played running back is No. 6 on Iowa’s career rushing list and is second on the TD chart with 32.
I think Weisman probably would’ve been more effective with fewer carries AND a partner, like LeShun Daniels AND Akrum Wadley, but the quick guy never materialized during Weisman’s run. He was Iowa’s back and the miles piled up.
Sedrick Shaw and Ladell Betts are Nos. 1 and 2 in career attempts at Iowa (837 and 831, respectively). Albert Young is third with 660 carries. Weisman is fourth at 599.
Weisman punched in and left a lot out there. If you can’t appreciate that, I’m sorry, but get out of here.
3. It’s bad when you guys leave before “In Heaven There is No Beer.” You did that here. It was hot, so I forgive you.
And, no, it’s not the sanitized title that the UI sticks on it, “Championship Polka.” It’s “In Heaven There is No Beer.”
(Had a lot of fun writing about that in this post, “Hawkeye Polkabration.”)
Quote: Here’s Hawkeye Outland OL Brandon Scherff on Weisman:
“He squats just a little bit less than me, and that’s impressive,” said Scherff, a 315-pound offensive tackle whose weight room fireworks occasionally ended up on YouTube. “I love competing with him in everything. He pushes me, I push him.”
Note: Iowa rushed for 2,338 yards in 2013. That team finished 8-5, but was close to bigger things because it could run the ball and play great defense.
Why No. 130? — This was a bad FCS team at Kinnick. We’ve already spent way too much time on it.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2013
IOWA CITY — Kinnick Stadium cleared out quickly. By the time the Iowa marching band finished the patented victory polka, “In Heaven there is no Beer,” there were echoes.
It was hot. This was an FCS opponent that finished 3-8 last season and lost its home opener. Iowa was a 24-point favorite coming off a loss. It really was pretty hot.
You can run wild with what Iowa (1-1) wasn’t in Saturday’s 28-14 victory over Missouri State. A pick-six got the Bears (0-2) within 21-14 three plays into the fourth quarter. The scoreboard said it was crunchtime, but it wasn’t.
The Hawkeyes were a bear swinging at a wasp. They brushed it away, but they couldn’t crush it. There were absolutely no style points, but it was the end of an aggravating seven-game losing streak. It was empty calories, but it was a meal.
“There were some things today that didn’t necessarily reflect improvement,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Those are the things we have to do a better job on.”
The scoreboard said it was crunchtime. After linebacker Rique Bentley picked off Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock and returned it 28 yards to the end zone, Iowa led 21-14 with 14:15 left. It felt like crunchtime, but it wasn’t. It just wasn’t.
Iowa’s calling card on offense continues to be a physical offensive line and burly running back Mark Weisman. That played out all day, with Weisman rushing a career-high 30 times for 180 yards and two TDs. The Hawkeyes rushed for 296 yards, the most since going for 301 against Illinois in 2005.
It really was pretty hot on the Kinnick FieldTurf. It didn’t seem to matter to Weisman, whose 29-yard run in the final minute, his second longest Saturday, put Iowa in kneel-down mode to run out the clock.
“He squats just a little bit less than me, and that’s impressive,” said Brandon Scherff, a 315-pound offensive tackle whose weight room fireworks occasionally end up on YouTube. “I love competing with him in everything. He pushes me, I push him.”
Iowa averaged 5.1 yards on 58 carries. The 489 yards total offense was Iowa’s most since 562 against Ball State in 2010. Weisman was a bear on the loose in a children’s zoo.
Rudock wanted the interception back right when he threw it. Bentley showed a blitz and then dropped back, baiting the throw.
“We had to throw the ball there, because we had no one to block (Bentley),” said Rudock, who completed 19 of 28 for 193 yards. “We’ll see on film, but he made a pretty good play. It sucks that he scored, though.”
After Bentley’s pick-six, Iowa went on a methodical 10-play, 65-yard TD drive. Weisman rushed five times for 24 yards. Rudock capped it with a 2-yard TD run, his second Saturday and third this season. That gave Iowa a 28-14 lead with 9:57 left.
“We hung in there and made some plays and forced them to throw the football,” MSU Coach Terry Allen said. “Give a lot of credit to the quarterback in the first half because we were going to try to make him beat us, and he did as much with his legs as with his arm, pulling down, scrambling around with the touchdown.”
OK, Iowa wasn’t a lot of things, namely disciplined. The 11 penalties (for 100 yards) were the most for an Iowa team since 2007, when Iowa had 10 for 117 yards. That gummed things up.
Iowa had a fourth-and-1 at MSU’s 2 on the first drive of the second half and fell a half-yard short of converting. That one kind of stung. Iowa did, however, force a three-and-out and scored on the next drive, Weisman from 10 yards, to make it 14-0, improving on a 7-0 halftime lead that certainly was noticed around the Big Ten.
“Moving the ball is one thing, but you’ve got to finish drives,” Ferentz said. “And then defensively, just playing every series like it’s your last.”
The Hawkeyes limited MSU to 197 yards, the first time Iowa has held an opponent to less than 200 yards offense since holding Eastern Illinois, also an FCS school, to 157 in 2010. Iowa allowed one play of more than 20 yards. Wide receiver Julian Burton beat freshman cornerback Desmond King in man-to-man coverage for a 27-yard TD with 14:25 left in the fourth quarter.
Bentley’s pick-six came on the next play, so that sort of compounded things, but this was an exercise as much as it was a competition.
Iowa was going to get through this.