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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.


Dallas Clark mowed and then he owned Kinnick

Iowa 42, Minnesota 24 | Nov. 17, 2001

Iowa tight end Dallas Clark jumps into the arms of teammate Robert Gallery after scoring on a 15-yard pass in the second half of the Hawkeyes' 42-24 win over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001. (The Gazette)
Iowa tight end Dallas Clark jumps into the arms of teammate Robert Gallery after scoring on a 15-yard pass in the second half of the Hawkeyes' 42-24 win over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2001. (The Gazette)

Three cool things:

1. I like Glen Mason. He was pretty fired up after this one. I think he thought the Gophers should’ve been able to squeeze a few more wins out of Iowa and third-year coach Kirk Ferentz.

Mason might’ve been the first coach to see the early 2000s success coming. Ferentz’s Iowa played Mason’s Minnesota to a four-point loss at Kinnick in 1999. (I think this was the one where Ferentz and then-AD Bob Bowlsby talked in the old interview room under the east bleachers at Kinnick, shutting the door for about 10 minutes before reporters were allowed in. That was weird. It wasn’t a chewing out, it was an affirmation that, no, this transition wasn’t going to be easy.)

Iowa probably should’ve won at the Metrodome in 2000, falling 27-24. And then in 2001, Ferentz’s Iowa caught Mason’s Minnesota.

Mason wouldn’t beat Ferentz again until 2006 and then he was fired.

Anyway, Mason wanted this postgame over and over quickly. He said in 2000 that he could feel Ferentz’s program coming on. He said all the right things.

And then he noticed he was surrounded by reporters. He didn’t like people standing behind him and made everyone get in front. Then, I thought, what? Now, after having been in the back of those circle news conferences many, many times, you go, Glen Mason. Let’s be orderly.

2. If Dallas Clark played quarterback, his back story would’ve been a major motion picture. I’m not kidding.

As a walk-on, he sat on a lawn tractor and mowed Kinnick because he was broke.

3. OK, I’m pretty sure Herky isn’t supposed to speak. I was down there for this one. I mean really down there. This game was over and I had a chance to pick my spot. I ended up on the Minnesota sideline, because this team was starving for a trophy run and finally had the chance.

I swear this happened. Hey, trophy runs make everyone break character, Herky. Your secret was safe with me. For almost 20 years, anyway.

Quote: Robert Gallery won the race to the pig.

“He had a 30-yard head start,” wideout Kahlil Hill said. “Plus, it’s bacon. It’s a meal. He started smelling some food.”

Note: On 6-6 bowl teams, this was almost a 6-6 bowl team (they were 6-5). It would’ve been a crime if this team was denied a bowl game. Let’s make 6-6 a case-by-case thing. I think some are better than others and bowls have the last two weeks of November to figure that out.

Why No. 31? — It’s definitely not standing behind Glen Mason.


Game story from 2001

IOWA CITY — Usually, the kid who wears the mascot outfit is a congenial sort. When you wear a giant cartoon head most of the job is engaging children and making funny with the other team’s mascot.

Herky was stone serious late Saturday afternoon. Shoving past TV cameras and Minnesota team managers, Herky was a mascot with an agenda.

”Where’s the pig,” Herky snorted.

The pig was at the bottom of one happy, smelly, giddy pile of Hawkeyes.

It was a pig pile. Oh, the humanity.

The Hawkeyes scored on their first four possessions, took their foot off the gas and allowed Minnesota to make it mildly interesting. Maybe not even mildly.

Running back Ladell Betts rushed 28 times for 171 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Kyle McCann completed 10 of 11 passes and threw three TD passes to fuel the Hawkeyes’ charge into pork and bowl eligibility, 42-24, before 65,491 fans at Kinnick Stadium.

Fullback Jeremy Allen scored two TDs during Iowa’s 21-0 rush in the first quarter. Minnesota receiver Ron Johnson caught two fourth-quarter TD passes, but the Hawkeyes had already done enough damage against Minnesota’s rumor of a defense.

The Golden Gophers knew it was over with about a minute left, when McCann completed a 7-yard out to Chris Oliver, converting a fourth-and-2.

They knew it was time to back away from Floyd of Rosedale, the traveling trophy that goes to the Iowa-Minnesota winner. They knew a manic rush to their sideline was about to ensue, so they cleared the way.

Pretty sure it was the fastest the Hawkeyes ran all day. And the fans, who rushed Floyd. And Herky, who ended up at the vortex of one happy, smelly, giddy pile of Hawkeye.”

(Running backs coach) Carl (Jackson) said he got hit pretty hard by a female, actually,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz joked. “I told him he should’ve asked if she had any eligibility left. We’ve got a lot of guys hurt, we might need some help.”

Let the record show that left tackle Robert Gallery, all 6-foot-7, 300 pounds of Iowa boy, won the race to Floyd. Give him credit, he read the play beautifully, anticipating the countdown and sneaking out of the huddle.

“He had a 30-yard head start,” wideout Kahlil Hill said. “Plus, it’s bacon. It’s a meal. He started smelling some food.”

It was a pig pile. Oh, the humanity.

“I was the first one off our sidelines, but I’m not the fastest guy,” defensive tackle Jerry Montgomery said. “Five, four, three, two, one, I was gone. Of course, everybody passed me, but I still got a touch.”

For the first time in three years, Floyd is back in Iowa, which snapped a three-game losing streak to Minnesota. More importantly, for the first time in three years, winning football is back at Iowa.

The Hawkeyes (6-4, 4-4 Big Ten) clinched their first winning season since 1997, when they finished 7-5 with an appearance in the Sun Bowl.

The bowl picture is hazy. The scenarios are too numerous to mention.

The Hawkeyes, who posted their first .500 league finish since ‘97, could finish anywhere from third to sixth in the Big Ten. The bowl translation is anywhere from the Outback Bowl to an at-large bowl. Or, perhaps, no bowl.

The Hawkeyes might need a victory at Iowa State (6-5) next Saturday to ensure a bowl bid.

“Right now, our bowl game will be this week,” Ferentz said. “If we win seven, I think that’s a clinch for us. Six may do it, may not. Our whole team right now will be focused on winning the last bowl game.”

As for the here and now, Saturday was as good as it gets for the Hawkeyes.

The first play was a flea flicker, McCann to tight end Dallas Clark for 23 yards. It was all electric glide from there.

McCann, booed at Kinnick during a loss to Michigan, received a rousing ovation as Ferentz replaced the seniors during the game’s final drive. McCann didn’t throw an incompletion until 2:24 of the third quarter, finishing 10 of 11 for 159 yards and three TDs. Brad Banks, the other half of Iowa’s quarterbacking duo, was 3-for-3.

At the end of the game, the ball ended up flying into the Kinnick bleachers, Iowa’s other incompletion Saturday.

“We were efficient today,” McCann said. “The guys up front did an outstanding job. They made holes for the backs, gave us pass protection and the receivers did a great job of getting open.

“When that happens, you’ve got a chance to make some plays. That’s when it’s fun.”

Efficient is Iowa’s offense seeing eight third downs all day, converting five. Fun, that was the pig pile.

Hill followed last Saturday’s brilliant performance at Northwestern with another. The senior caught three passes for 53 yards and a TD. He picked up another 80 yards on returns, including a 42-yard punt return that set up Allen’s second 1-yard TD in the first quarter, giving the Hawkeyes an untouchable 21-0 lead.

Iowa’s offensive line herded Minnesota’s defense around Kinnick. The Hawkeyes rushed for 267 yards.

“I had fun today,” Betts said. “I think we all had fun.”

Iowa couldn’t even stop Iowa.

Wide receiver C.J. Jones had a long kick return cut down to 39 yards after an illegal block. Two more penalties later, including one that nullified a 2-yard Betts’ TD, Betts scored from 5 yards to give Iowa a 28-3 halftime lead.

Slowed the last two weeks with a bruised knee, Clark found his Superman cape, catching four passes for 96 yards and a TD.

Clark likely pushed his way into the ESPN highlight reel. He caught a pass over the middle, made two moves that dropped a pair of Minnesota tacklers and then dragged three Gophers on his back for another 15 yards to Minnesota’s 20, a 40-yard gain.

Yes, Minnesota outgained Iowa, 475-473. And yes, sophomore quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq completed 20 of 34 for 319 yards, three TDs and an interception. And yes, big yes, Johnson terrorized Iowa’s secondary, seven receptions for 181 yards and two TDs.

“I’m not happy about those deep bombs, but I’m not going to dwell on that right now,” said defensive end Aaron Kampman, who had two sacks. “I’m having too much fun.”

It was a pig pile. Oh, the humanity.

Dallas Clark feature from 2003

No what-ifs, Clark opts for the NFL

IOWA CITY — Dallas Clark arrived at Iowa with a broken collarbone, a murky promise of a spot as a walk-on and darned near no money.

He leaves as one of Iowa’s all-time best tight ends and, if he cleans up well for NFL scouts, a wealthy young man.

Clark, everyone’s all-American this season, announced Wednesday he will skip his senior season and enter April’s NFL draft.

“Before I even decided, whatever decision I made it was going to be 100 percent, never looking back,” Clark said. “I’m not going to live in the world of ‘what ifs, what ifs.’ If I get drafted in the fifth round or if I got hurt, this is my life and I’m going to live with the rewards and consequences. I feel great about this opportunity and my decision.”

Iowa went 2-for-3 in Hawkeyes shunning the NFL Wednesday.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, who interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars opening last week, dropped out of the running and received a raise, UI Athletics Director Bob Bowlsby said.

Offensive tackle Robert Gallery, who considered skipping his senior year next year, will remain a Hawkeye.

“I’m staying,” Gallery said. “I’m not filing papers (to the NFL offices), and I’m not looking back. This is the right decision for me. I belong at Iowa for another year.”

Clark, a junior from Livermore, is the first Iowa player to skip a year of eligibility since tight end Jonathan Hayes passed up the 1985 season for the draft.

Clark, 23, said he’ll remain on campus this semester to train but won’t enroll in classes. He said he intends to finish his degree and pursue a teaching career.

Clark kept himself composed and thanked Ferentz, strength coach Chris Doyle, tight ends coach Reese Morgan, Bowlsby and his family.

“It’s been a really hard decision, one of the toughest I think I’ll make,” Clark said. “I know that it’s probably going to upset a lot of people I’m not coming back. But I thought a lot about it. This is the right thing for me. At this point in my life, I have to look out for my best interests.”

Clark’s story is nothing short of incredible. He began his Iowa football life in 1998 as a part-time student with a broken collarbone. Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry promised Clark a chance to make the team and came through on the promise.

“We’ve got to put Hayden in there, because it was Hayden who gave him a chance,” said Doug Clark, Dallas’ dad.

Clark became a full-time student and a full-fledged team member in January ‘99. But two days before the season opener against Nebraska — Ferentz’s first game as head coach — Clark had an emergency appendectomy.

The first two semesters in ‘98 were particularly difficult.

His mom, Jan, died two days before he graduated from Twin Rivers High School. With two sons finishing college, Doug Clark had a tough time helping his youngest son make ends meet.

“Maybe we didn’t have the greatest stuff, but we enjoyed what we had and it worked,” Doug Clark said. “But I do know that any kid in America who says he can’t support college, I can testify he can.”

Dallas Clark basically lived on his own that first year.

“It was really hard,” said Clark, who has some $15,000 in student loans. “I just didn’t feel like a college freshman, because I had so many responsibilities.

“I was by myself, so I had to handle that. I had to grow up. I didn’t get to enjoy the finer things at college. But to play even just one game at Kinnick Stadium, it was all worth it.”

Before being awarded a full scholarship in fall ‘01, Clark played football, took classes and worked. He held a summer job with UI grounds services, which included mowing Kinnick Stadium.

“I woke up at 6 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” said Clark, who started as an outside linebacker and made a splash on special teams before moving to tight end in spring 2001. “I mowed Kinnick Stadium and mowed the baseball stadium, both softball fields, both soccer fields. I fixed sprinkler heads. I mowed the complex. That helped me pay the bills.”

He mowed Kinnick, then he owned Kinnick.

The deadline for underclassmen to file for draft eligibility was Wednesday at 5 p.m. Players then get a 72-hour window to reconsider. Clark is definitely going. Gallery is definitely staying.

Gallery, a 6-foot-7, 305-pounder, would have been a mid-round selection this year.

“I talked to a lot of NFL people and everyone said late first round or early second, but I had already made up my mind,” Gallery said. “I want to be the top offensive tackle in the draft next year. I want to help this team achieve next year.”

Clark said his age was a factor. He’ll be 24 in June. Next year would have been his sixth year at Iowa.

Clark talked to NFL scouts from the Ravens, Patriots and Colts. He sees himself as a “solid second-rounder.”

ESPN’s Mel Kiper rated Clark as the No. 3 junior tight end in the nation. Late first-round picks get contracts in the $5 million to $7 million range with signing bonuses of about $1.5 million. Third-rounders get contracts in the $2 million range with signing bonuses of about $700,000.

“I think Dallas is going to be a guy they can split out, use as a slot receiver, a lot like the Giants use (Jeremy) Shockey,” said Marv Cook, a former all-American tight end at Iowa who had a Pro Bowl career in the NFL.

“I think he’ll be great in motion, being able to get in trips and work the three-man, West Coast-style offense with another tight end. I think he’ll be able to contend for a starting job right now.”