Three cool things:
1. I asked Kirk Ferentz this in Chicago: OK, you’ve gotten 20 years out of your 4-3 defense, how are you going to get 20 more?
He laughed. I laughed.
Neither of us is getting 20 more of anything. Maybe helpings of ice cream (BTW, KF is nuts for the Cherry Garcia. Newp. Vanilla with chocolate sauce. All you need. Don’t overthink it).
So, let’s talk a little legacy. Not for Ferentz. C’mon, that’ll play out. I’m talking about me.
I’m going to need a little help here. So, Greg Morris, Iowa’s forever equipment manager, I’m going to need a helmet.
Any helmet. One from the ’70s. Whatever. Just a Hawkeye-looking deal. It just has to have the No. 4 on it.
Let’s say it’s a home game and Iowa wins it. I think the QB walking that helmet — let’s pretend it’s the helmet the QB wore during the game — to the student section right after the game, can be a tradition.
What happens after that? Well, students take the helmet downtown and treat it to a night. Treat it with respect. It’s the Hawkeye Holy Grail you’re getting to do a shot with.
Everyone take pictures. Social it #AlwaysHawkeyes. Yeah, you’re going to get hop-ons (you know, people who don’t want to play along). You might get some weirdness. Everyone block those guys and then never give it another thought.
So yes, taking the QB’s helmet downtown for an Iowa City night after a win, is a tradition that needs to happen. I think everyone can handle it. I think.
So, of course, this actually happened after this stunning, beautiful November night in Kinnick.
You guys rushed the field. So did QB C.J. Beathard. He didn’t give his helmet much of a thought. He got back to the sidelines and it was gone.
Imagine how the conversation went late Saturday/early Sunday on the Ped Mall.
Iowa City Police officer: “Excuse me, where did you get that helmet?”
Person wearing C.J. Beathard’s helmet: “Scheels?”
Iowa City Police officer: “You didn’t get that at Scheels. It has a number on it. It’s clearly been used.”
Person wearing Beathard’s helmet: “Garage sale?”
Iowa City Police officer: “Please hand over the helmet.”
Person wearing Beathard’s helmet: “What helmet?”
You knew there would be some collateral damage. Iowa had just upset No. 3 Michigan at Kinnick Stadium. After Keith Duncan’s 33-yard field goal — which was seen on ABC by more than 10 million people, according to ESPN — a lot of the sellout crowd of 70,585 fans poured onto the field.
They danced to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” They did a few shots of Fireball on the Kinnick turf (hey why not?). And they scooped up everything that looked like a souvenir.
That included a few Hawkeyes helmets. The number reached the teens, Coach Kirk Ferentz said.
“I think I got that word Sunday sometime,” Ferentz said. “There was some concern there, but it sounds like they all got back in the nest yesterday morning, I think the last one got returned.”
After Ferentz finished his postgame interviews late that night, he got his usual ride back from head student manager Brock Baumert, who let Ferentz know about the pillaging of helmets and the recovery efforts.
“He said the managers were really helping, the student managers were helping after the game, because anything that wasn’t nailed down was being accosted,” Ferentz said. “So, I guess those guys they deserve gold stars for the week.”
Case in point: Junior outside linebacker Ben Niemann lost his helmet, but only for a second.
“Our equipment guys saw someone in the stands with it and got it back,” Niemann said.
Junior linebacker Josey Jewell dropped his helmet, but only for a second.
“Second” is a key detail here, people.
“It (his helmet) fell down right away when I was running onto the field,” Jewell said.
“All of the sudden, I thought, ‘I probably shouldn’t leave that there.’ Some other fan was picking it up. I went over to them and they gave it back to me. It was good I didn’t leave it like C.J. did.”
All of the players heard something about Beathard’s helmet.
The last helmet in the nest was Beathard’s.
“I guess one of the cops walking down the street saw a kid wearing it and brought it back,” Beathard said. “There were a few helmets gone after the game. In the locker room afterward, guys were like, ‘We don’t know what happened to our helmets.’ Then, the next day, I guess they got all of them back except for mine. Then, they found it.”
Beathard didn’t care. His team, a 22-point underdog, just beat No. 3. He hurried through the postgame to get to a concert his brother, Tucker, was playing at the Blue Moose Tap House in Iowa City that Saturday night.
Tucker Beathard was the only family member C.J. had at the game. The rest of the family was in Washington, D.C., attending C.J.’s grandfather Bobby’s induction into the Redskins Hall of Fame.
“I did, yes,” Beathard said when asked whether he made it to Tucker’s show.
Wait, did someone think to grab the football that Duncan booted through the uprights? That’s kind of a biggie.
“I put it down somewhere and kind of left it there,” said Ferentz, who was given the ball after the game. “Somebody has it right now, I better check on that, too. We got the helmets back, we’ll see about the ball.”
If he found it, Ferentz told the team he would find a place in the Hansen Performance Center to showcase it. If he found it.
I’m not sure they have. But anyway, do that helmet thing. Live a little.
2. A safety kept Iowa in this. Yes, I’ve probably written that sentence before.
It files under one of the “most Hawkeye” things. The fact that Jaleel Johnson’s safety in the second quarter kept Iowa in the game was so very, very 2016 Iowa.
The Hawkeyes trailed, 10-0, with about seven minutes remaining in the second quarter. In their first three drives, the Wolverines punted and then got a field goal and drove 72 yards for running back Ty Isaac’s 7-yard TD run.
This game was teetering on getting away from Iowa when punter Ron Coluzzi downed a punt at Michigan’s 2. On second down, Johnson lined up in a 3 technique, over right guard Kyle Kalis’ outside shoulder. Johnson brushed by Kalis, whose path went to a linebacker. Right tackle Erik Magnuson blocked defensive end Matt Nelson.
Basically, on a second-and-10 from UM’s 2, Iowa’s best defensive lineman was left as a free runner. Johnson twisted running back De’Veon Smith so he couldn’t extend the ball over the goal line. Linebacker Josey Jewell cleaned up and Iowa was on the board.
“That gave our offense momentum, that gave our defense momentum,” Johnson said. “When moments like that happen, you can’t just, ‘All right, we got points on the board.’ You have to go out and keep competing. You keep competing and moments like this will happen.”
Johnson was named Big Ten defensive player of the week. Duncan was named special teams player of the week. Corner Manny Rugamba shared the freshman of the week honor.
Johnson had a career-high nine tackles, with six solo stops, two tackles for loss and a sack late in the second quarter. He also had four QB hurries.
3. Keith Duncan had this moment and now he’s waiting for the next.
Duncan was the true freshman kicker in 2016. It was the year after Marshall Koehn mashed footballs through uprights for the Hawkeyes, so it was a transition year for kicker and Duncan rode that wave.
Miguel Recinos was a walk-on sophomore when this happened. He watched from the bench when Duncan made his 33-yarder. If that was the ember that lit things for Recinos, OK. Recinos will be in his second year as Iowa’s kicker in 2018. Duncan has stuck it out. He redshirted last year. He’ll give it a shot again this year. More likely, Duncan will emerge as the kicker in 2019 with two years of eligibility remaining.
At this time, with Duncan being a walk-on from North Carolina via Texas, I wasn’t sure how well he was known throughout the team.
They knew. I think.
“Every now and then I’ll see him in the locker room and I’ll say, ‘Hey, what’s up, Keith? How are you doing?’” Jaleel Johnson said. “Other than that, it’s never a full-on conversation.
“But now, I’ll probably buy him a burger or something.”
Duncan finished the night on his teammates’ shoulders in the locker room. Linebacker Bo Bower and wide receiver Riley McCarron did the heavy lifting. Well, Duncan is officially listed at 165 pounds, which probably really means 155, so the “heavy” was relative.
“It was an incredible feeling kicking that in front of 70,000 fans,” Duncan said. “I can’t even speak right now. Kinnick has the best fans in the world. We’ve got the best coaches and I have the best teammates. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Quote: If you think those piles look scary, they are.
“I thought I was going to break my leg, because it was in a weird position. There were a lot of people on top. It was kind of scary. Keith was screaming, ‘Get off me! Get off me!’ It was intense and it was a lot of fun, but it was scary. Some crazy things happen at the bottom of those piles.” — punter Ron Coluzzi
Note: Iowa had 230 yards of total offense in this game. Harbaugh’s Michigan values defense. RB Akrum Wadley put up 167 yards from scrimmage.
Why No. 19? — Definitely should be higher, but I don’t think this is anyone’s No. 1.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2016
IOWA CITY — On Thursday, quarterback C.J. Beathard ran into linebacker Josey Jewell somewhere in Iowa’s Hansen Performance Center. They were just shooting the breeze and, sure, the Michigan game came up in the conversation.
It’s probably hard to imagine, but college football players also can have water cooler conversations. They’re, however, not quite like ours, but let’s break this one down.
This was, after all, the next game, the next game after a disaster for the Hawkeyes against Penn State the previous week. And this was Michigan, the No. 3 team in the country with the coolest coach and all those gaudy nation-leading numbers.
Yes, Michigan popped up in the conversation. You might say it was the centerpiece.
“‘So, how’s their defense look?’ he asked me,” Beathard said.
“‘They’ve got a defense,’” Beathard responded.
“‘So, how does their offense look?’” Beathard asked Jewell.
“‘Their offense is good, but ...’” Beathard said, “but Josey told me, ‘We’re ready to go. I’ve been feeling it all week.’
“He said, ‘Give us 14 points and we’ll win the game.’ ”
“I said, ‘All right,’” Beathard said with a laugh. “It happened to be that exact thing.”
Jewell was mildly embarrassed that Beathard unleashed that conversation into the world. But it did happen.
“That is accurate. I did tell him if they scored 14 points this week, we’d help them out and we’d get a victory,” Jewell said. “I wouldn’t say I called it, I just said it early on.”
Did Jewell believe it?
“Yeah, I believed it,” he said. “I thought if they got 14 points, if our defense played well, the way we could, if we trusted in ourselves and trusted in everyone around us, just did our job, I thought we could play a heckuva game.”
File Iowa’s 14-13 upset over No. 3 Michigan under “heckuva game.” Freshman Keith Duncan’s 33-yard field goal as time expired for sure set off a heckuva celebration.
A week after allowing 599 yards and 41 points at Penn State, Iowa’s defense hounded the Wolverines (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten).
The Hawkeyes (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) piled up six three-and-outs, including one after a Beathard interception with 1:54 left in the game. Defensive end Parker Hesse pressured Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight on a third-and-8 and the pass fell incomplete.
Iowa looked to take over at its 49, but Michigan linebacker Mike McCray was called for a facemask penalty while tackling Desmond King on the return. Suddenly, it was first down Iowa at Michigan’s 36 with 1:23 left in the game.
“I didn’t see it, either,” Harbaugh said on the facemask penalty.
Iowa got a turnover and a field goal out of a fumble on the second-half kickoff. Defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson tackled running back De’Veon Smith for a safety, putting Iowa on the board at 10-2 in the second quarter. The Hawkeyes held Michigan to 201 yards total offense, a season low, a Harbaugh-era low and the lowest output for a Michigan offense since Michigan State held it to 186 in 2014.
Last week, Michigan put up 660 yards in a 59-3 win over Maryland.
“Knock off the No. 3 school? That’s big time, that’s huge,” Johnson said. “That’s what (head) coach (Kirk) Ferentz talked about all week. He talked about making miracles happen.”
Beathard passed for 66 yards. He didn’t seem to care.
“Any way you can get a win, that’s all that matters,” he said. “I’d rather throw for 60 yards and get a win than throw for 400 and get a loss.”
This is where running back Akrum Wadley picked up the slack. Clearly, Iowa’s offense now is routing through Wadley. Against the Wolverines, he had a career-high 28 touches (23 carries, five receptions) and generated 167 total yards (115 rushing, 52 receiving, including a 3-yard TD that made it 10-8 late in the first half.
Wadley had 72.6 percent of Iowa’s yards. There were 63 non-Wadley yards.
“He’s a great back, really elusive,” Beathard said. “He turns 3-yard runs into big plays, especially in tight spaces, which is crazy. Anytime you can get the ball in his hands, he can make guys miss and turn little plays into big ones.”
Kinnick Stadium had its first bona fide field rush since maybe the Hawkeyes beat Wisconsin in 2004 to clinch a share of the Big Ten championship with ... Michigan.
Even Wadley couldn’t escape the mob of fans all wearing black and enveloping the Hawkeyes while they tried to weave their ways to the locker room. From goal line to goal line and almost up the tunnel and into the Iowa locker room, the field was covered with celebrating fans.
“I’ve never been in a situation like that,” Wadley said. “It’s one of the greatest highlights of my life. So many fans, just grabbing you. I didn’t know where the team was. Didn’t get a chance to shake their (Michigan’s) hands. It took me about ... I don’t know, some time to get out of there.”
Good job, Kinnick. You stopped Wadley. Michigan didn’t.