Three cool things:
1. How many times did you watch the celebration? The celebrations at Kinnick Stadium during night games, I think that’s your nirvana.
Wait, let’s make sure you remember that it was Marshall Koehn’s 57-yard field goal that won it as time expired. Now, everyone tweet a picture of lonely Tyler Boyd under the north end zone crossbar.
This one kind of made its way around the Kinnick field (by the way, I’m glad Iowa hasn’t named its field). The shoulder padded and helmeted herd started heading toward the spirit squad in the south end zone. The squad was in the middle of “In Heaven There is No Beer” — I’m never calling it the “Victory Polka,” that’s actually sort of an insult to the song — and collectively had its back turned to the Hawkeye blob.
This was like watching a scene from “Jaws.” One camera is focused on the shark. The other on the swimmer’s legs. Jump cut, jump cut, jump cut and red water.
You’ve watched this 1,000 times. You’ve seen Koehn take off the opposite way and end up in the south end zone and sending his game-winner through the north end zone uprights.
You’ve seen the spirit team member not sense that a mass of human football team was about to crash down on her back like a tsunami. You saw her disappear like a cornstalk in a combine.
Rest easy, the dance team made it out alive.
From the @IowaDanceTeam Twitter later that night:
"ICYMI: we were part of the epic celebration @ Kinnick Except for a few bumps & bruises all are ok! #danceteamstrong"
This is no joke. Koehn told me after the game that linebacker Bo Bower ended up on the bottom of the pile and lost consciousness. Might be part of the myth that will just snowball until we all have gray eyebrows, but still, kind of scary.
2. OK, you’re a college football coach. Do you try to freeze the kicker?
I’m not sure the freeze timeout is worth calling. It simply takes too long to get the call in from the sideline, even if the official is right there. If I’m a coach, I’m not willing to play that game of timeout roulette. If I’m the guy with the headset (and let’s for this moment assume it’s plugged in), I keep the timeout and let it tease the kicker’s head. Is he going to call it? Is he not going to call it?
Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi called his freezer super early. Koehn heard the whistle and strolled up to the ball and gave it a little bump. Narduzzi sent star WR Tyler Boyd out in case it was returnable. All Boyd could do was watch the kick sail through the uprights.
I think you guys really liked that part. Iowa’s social media team — which I think is just Max Allen, so when you tweet horrible things at Iowa football, you’re tweeting to Max, who’s a really nice guy, so please be nice — put together a crowdsourced video of Koehn’s kick. It was super cool. Keep those coming, Max.
This freezer didn’t work. Lost in the drama of the 57-yarder, Koehn also punted for the first time in his career. It was a rugby style kick and it went 64 yards with no return and pinned the Panthers at their 4.
3. This was the night Brett Greenwood led the swarm out of the tunnel. Forget the colors, this was a human moment and it radiated into every ventricle in all of our hearts.
Quote: “Coach (Phil) Parker came up to me and said ‘I’m glad they did that. Because we did that to Iowa State and it came back and bit us in the butt.’” — Iowa kicker Marshall Koehn on being “iced.” The ISU game was 2014, an Iowa loss on a last-second field goal.
Note: Desmond King ended two of Pitt’s first four drives with interceptions. The first two, actually, and they were good-looking drives until King stepped in. The stars always have to come out for the Hawkeyes in these types of even games.
Why No. 25? — This game is a novel unto itself.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2015
IOWA CITY — When this thing ended, everyone’s eye black had run like homecoming mascara. The tape jobs were unwound. And Marshall Koehn still might be doing that airplane thing that field goal kickers do.
Koehn made a career-long 57-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Hawkeyes past Pittsburgh, 27-24, before 63,363 fans at Kinnick Stadium.
Pitt Coach Pat Narduzzi tried to freeze Koehn and the first kick fell well short. The “freeze” technique only seemed to make Koehn mad. His kick, the second longest in Iowa (3-0) history, made it to the net.
Koehn turned and sprinted one way up the Kinnick turf and then another way and then he reversed and someone ended up crashing down in the opposite end zone in a pile of black and gold jerseys.
You wanted a new Kirk Ferentz. You got a new Kirk Ferentz.
Pitt (2-1) tied the game with 52 seconds left, when QB Nate Peterman hit star wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who caught 10 passes for 131 yards, for an 8-yard TD.
Old Kirk Ferentz probably takes the knee and trots into OT. You wanted a new Kirk Ferentz.
Iowa QB C.J. Beathard, a one-man band Saturday night completing 27 of 40 for 258 yards, scrambled for 12 yards on first down. He scrambled for 8 yards on third down at Pitt’s 39. Iowa quickly called the timeout with 2 seconds left.
Freeze technique, it’s good in theory.
The Hawkeyes’ defense, without star DE Drew Ott most of the night, held Pitt to 227 yards total offense. Iowa now has its chance for its first 4-0 non-conference run since 2009 with North Texas on tap next week at Kinnick.
Maybe Marshall Koehn will have stopped running by then. But probably not.
Beathard and the Hawkeyes were on the edge of the ledge. It was buttered and Pitt was pushing.
OK, Pitt wasn’t pushing as much as it was hitting Beathard in the face. Literally. Coming off the Panthers’ first-half TD (a 15-yard pass from Nate Peterman to tight end Scott Orndoff) Pittsburgh linebackers Matt Galambos and Nicholas Grigsby ran a twist. Center Austin Blythe picked up Grigsby, but Galambos came on a free run and stuck his helmet under Beathard’s chin. The ball flipped free on the turf and linebacker Bam Bradley recovered at Iowa’s 1.
Replay overturned the play and Iowa pulled itself out of danger. On Pitt’s next drive, the Hawkeyes held it to a three-and-out and so it was the offense, run by Beathard, whose left hip had been heavily worked on the sidelines after a 9-yard TD run, left to make something work against a wildly aggressive Pitt defense.
On second down, Pitt defensive end Ejuan Price lined up inside and broke free and landed a shot on Beathard, but it came after he zipped an 18-yard bullet to wide receiver Tevaun Smith. And the Hawkeyes were off.
Pitt’s blitzing linebackers were eventually frozen with a passing game that attacked the middle of the field. Tight end Henry Krieger Coble caught a 14-yard pass. Wide receiver Matt VandeBerg caught a 7-yard slant. Short pass in flat to Krieger Coble, another slant to VandeBerg and Iowa’s buttered ledge suddenly was first-class leather chair in full recline.
Out of a new formation, running back Jordan Canzeri powered 7 yards and then 4 more to finish it and give Iowa a 17-7 halftime lead.
Pitt didn’t blink. The Panthers drove 10 plays and made it 17-10 on the opening drive of the second half with Chris Blewitt’s 48-yard field goal.
And then Pitt saw something it really liked in Iowa’s punt formation. The Panthers got close to one in the first half. They smothered this one in the third quarter. Defensive back Ryan Lewis was one of the many who arrived at punter Dillon Kidd. Defensive back Pat Amara recovered and returned the ball 25 yards to tie the game 17-17 with 5:51 left in the third.
Iowa answered with a drive that might’ve been Beathard’s symphony. A 32-yard slant to Jacob Hillyer put the drive in gear. On a second-and-16, Beathard teased Pitt with a 17-yard screen pass to Canzeri, who gave Iowa a 24-17 with a 1-yard run with 6:03 left in the game.
Pitt’s offense answered, converting two fourth downs before Peterman found Boyd for an 8-yard TD with 52 seconds left in the game.
Brett Greenwood sidebar from 2015
The fight will never stop
IOWA CITY — The fight still is on and always will be.
Brett Greenwood’s last moments as an Iowa Hawkeye were spent sitting on the turf at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.
This wasn’t what the walk-on turned scholarship player turned four-year starter signed up for. Greenwood was an action hero for the Hawkeyes. Earlier in this Insight Bowl, he picked off his 12th career interception, ending a Missouri scoring threat in the Iowa end zone. The Bettendorf native and Pleasant Valley grad started 40-plus games for Iowa from 2008 through the 2010 Insight Bowl.
Late in the third quarter, Greenwood jumped into a pile and suffered a neck injury, a combination of a stinger and a jammed neck.
He sat on the turf and wouldn’t make eye contact with the Iowa trainers. He clearly didn’t like what he was hearing in this moment.
Greenwood stared up into the stadium lights while Russ Haynes, who’s now Iowa’s head trainer, examined and eventually told Greenwood that his night, and thus his career at Iowa, was over.
“It’s tough but you’ve got to look long term and do the smart thing,” Greenwood said after the game.
On Sept. 9, 2011, while working out to stay in shape for a run at the NFL, Greenwood went into sudden cardiac arrest because of a heart arrhythmia. He received CPR and a defibrillator was on the scene within minutes. He was flown to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where he was put into therapeutic hypothermia and a medically induced coma that lasted 27 days.
He suffered an anoxic brain injury because of the lack of oxygen. The initial diagnoses were a life that wasn’t life. The road, as you can imagine, has been difficult.
There has been progress over the last four years. Greenwood can now walk with assistance of physical therapists. There have been gains in short-term memory.
Last Friday night, Greenwood, with the assistance of his physical therapist Matt Rokes and former Iowa and Bettendorf linebacker Pat Angerer, walked out for the coin flip before the Pleasant Valley-Bettendorf game at TouVelle Stadium in Bettendorf.
Saturday night, flanked by Angerer and Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle, Greenwood again walked onto the Kinnick turf. Not only did he walk out, Greenwood led the Hawkeyes “swarm,” as he did during his playing days.
“We were hoping this day would come and it’s here,” said Dave Greenwood, Brett’s dad and a Cedar Rapids native. “Coach Ferentz has been very gracious to us and to Brett. So we’re looking forward to it.
“The biggest thing is it takes a lot of time and we’ve had a lot of help along the way and some great people have stepped up.
“We’ve been coming up to Iowa City about once a month at the new football facility working with Chris Doyle. I think it was early July we were in the weight room and Kirk came up and just asked if Brett would like to be honorary captain for one of the two night games. So he said whichever one you want, you get.”
The self-made Hawkeye, going from walk-on to four-year starter and all-Big Ten performer. He went from redshirt walk-on to No. 1 free safety at Iowa in a season. Who does that? No one, or not many.
It was a bad sign Greenwood didn’t make eye contact with the trainers that night in Tempe. Greenwood sat on that turf and didn’t budge for what seemed like forever. He eventually trudged to the sideline. He hated tapping out that night. You just know he won’t do it again.
The look on his face Saturday night said that loudly and clearly.